Master & Discipleship
MASTER & DISCIPLESHIP
CHAPTER1: WHY DO YOU NEED A SPIRITUAL TEACHER?
CHAPTER2: THE TASK OF A SPIRITUAL TEACHER
CHAPTER4: HOW TO BEHAVE WITH A SPIRITUAL TEACHER
CHAPTER5: HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE FALSE SPIRITUAL TEACHERS ?
CHAPTER6: THE WORK OF A SPIRITUAL TEACHER
CHAPTER7: THE GREATEST JOY OF A SPIRITUAL TEACHER
CHAPTER8: WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL TEACHER?
WHY DO YOU NEED A SPIRITUAL TEACHER?
You decide one day to learn to play, let us say, the violin. So you go out and buy an instrument and music books and you begin to play. For the first few days you practise one or two hours each day, but very soon your enthusiasm starts to wane and you stop. One week later you go back to your violin and then once again you stop. And so it goes on, practice followed by lazy inactivity, according to your mood. But now imagine for a moment that you have a violin teacher. You practise regularly because you cannot go to a lesson without having prepared. And your teacher is always there to correct your mistakes or to give you encouragement.
For this same reason it is necessary to have a master if you want to make progress in your spiritual life, because you have to make an effort for him. You say you do not want a master that you will manage by yourself, that there is no need for someone to guide you. Very well. Do as you wish. But if it is not a master, then it will be life that takes charge of you, and life is likely to teach you some very hard lessons. (OCTOBER 26, 2000)
Our life is a succession of encounters, of contacts with objects, places, situations, human beings and other creatures. Everyone wants to experience and know. Why? Because they think that with this knowledge they will gain something. But be careful, because very often the reverse is true.
The fly looks at the spider’s web with great curiosity. It wants to know what it is. It has no idea that in this magnificent web of threads lurks the very cunning creature who spun it, and so the fly ventures in and makes the acquaintance of the spider, once and for all we could say. The artist who spun this trap is of course delighted, but for the fly it is the end. Well, life is full of spider’s webs and traps like this, waiting for the curious and careless who venture off without anyone to guide or instruct them. (NOVEMBER 25, 2002)
When a disciple works to identify with his master, he establishes a truly magical bond and, thanks to this bond, gradually begins to resemble his master. Perhaps not physically – although this is possible with a great deal of willpower, with a great deal of faith and time – but inwardly he receives his master’s wisdom and light. For the disciple, then, true magic lies in the work of identifying with his master to find the treasures buried in his master’s soul, heart, intelligence and will, so all these treasures flow into him. Because the master is neither selfish nor miserly, he wants to give in abundance. And even if the master sees that one of his disciples is beginning to surpass him, he is delighted and says: ‘This disciple is one of my children; if he is greater than I, so much the better, for I am the father.’ And the sight of that child fills him with pride. (FEBRUARY 15, 2000)
It is hard to do something you don’t enjoy. It is when you like something that you feel drawn to it and want to work at it. If someone is famished he feels such affection for food that he gets up and goes to look for something to eat in his cupboard or at the grocer’s! And this is true for all our other activities. If you love the Teaching, if you hunger for the spiritual life, you will not just stand there with your arms folded, doing nothing; you will feel impelled to nourish your love and do everything in your power to satisfy your spiritual need. To be sure, we need a Master or Instructor to explain exactly what the spiritual life is, why it is important to become more and more intimate with it, and the methods to use in putting it into practice; but it is up to the disciple to love it and actually live it. The Master contributes light and the disciple responds with his heart. (NOVEMBER 3, 1987)
Many men and women are looking for a master, but if they find one, they know neither how to think of him nor what their obligation is towards him. A master is like a father or a mother on the spiritual plane: he educates and nourishes his children. And just as children must not remain with their parents forever, but must find their own way in order to develop correctly, disciples must not cling to their master but must go towards God. Moreover, the master himself does not stay still; he is also advancing towards God, and his disciples must follow this path in order to find their way to Him. Thus, the point of departure is God, and the destination is also God.
(JUNE 3, 2003)
You have a master, you follow his teaching, but do not imagine that you will retain anything if you do not make an effort to make this teaching an intrinsic part of you. It is no good repeating: ‘Our master is good, our master is wise ...‘ and cite all kinds of quotations in support of what you are saying. Your master’s goodness and wisdom are his, not yours. And so long as you do not endeavor to possess them as well, they will be almost useless to you.
A true disciple does not content himself with praising his master’s qualities and quoting him. He makes his master’s teaching his own, he merges with him to such an extent that one day, when he is talking, he no longer knows whether it is his own thought or that of his master he is expressing. This is what the ideal of a true disciple must be. If he does not work towards achieving this, he may spend twenty or thirty years with a master and retain nothing. And when he comes back in a subsequent incarnation, he will have to start from scratch, as if he had never had a master or followed a master’s teaching. (JUNE 22, 2002)
A spiritual master can be compared to a mountain guide who must lead his party, connected to each other by ropes, to the summit. It is a heavy responsibility and requires a great deal of discipline. During the climb, the guide must not stop on the path and turn to chat with those he is leading, or smile at them or slap them on the shoulder as a friendly gesture; he must fix his sights on the goal to be reached and head straight for it.
Since the spiritual life is like the ascent of a high peak, neither should the disciples of a master ask him to turn towards them. Their salvation depends on this, because if he turns around in order to please them, he will miss his footing and the entire party will fall. On the plains, that is to say in everyday life, it is different, but when we are climbing a mountain, the rules are hard and fast. What is more, the disciples must ask heaven to help their master keep his attention on the ascent, so that he may lead the entire party to the top. Yes, this is what disciples must pray for, instead of trying everything possible to attract their master's attention, because if they succeed in doing so, everyone will suffer. You see, disciples do not yet know how to treat their master.
(SEPTEMBER 7, 2003)
The spiritual life is a discipline which requires a great deal of time and effort. Therefore, if someone comes along and begins by promising that, as his disciple, you will obtain clairvoyance and psychic powers very quickly and easily, you must mistrust him. And mistrust him all the more if he asks for money in exchange for such rapid results. For the truth is that money is of no use whatsoever when it comes to spiritual progress. Your daily efforts to learn self-control, to be considerate of others, and to unite with God through prayer and meditation...all this costs nothing, it is free. But it is a long process, and as human beings are both lazy and impatient to achieve success, they are immediately attracted by someone who promises them miraculous results, even if the price is high. But in this case they should not complain if they are swindled. When you look for a spiritual master you must know what to expect of him: illusions or truth.
(OCTOBER 22, 2003)
For years an international office of weights and measures has existed in Sèvres, France. Why this office? Because people noticed that, if there were no yardstick to refer to, it would be the reign of the arbitrary; everyone would weigh and measure as it suited him. But where their thoughts or judgments are concerned, people never question the rightness of their system of weights and measures. Day and night people weigh, measure, and calculate, judge without ever thinking that they should perhaps verify their instruments with the spiritual office of weights and measures, that is to say, with a sage, an initiate, a great master – dead or alive. Instead of asking, ‘What about my heart? My will? My brain? What about my tastes? Are they correctly adjusted?’ everyone believes he is perfect and gives his opinion on everything.
(OCTOBER 30, 2001)
1- The necessity of having a spiritual Master in our individual life does not even need to be argued. As for example, in collective life, there is only to see the great difficulties humanity meets when trying to solve their social, political and international problems to be convinced that help and new solutions are needed. We are in constant search of stability and peace, yearning for a life where we don't kill or exploit each other; and that, simply because of our unconsciousness, our ignorance and a simple lack of morality in some cases. We could say that all the collective problems of our era have for unique cause: the lack of education of individuals towards the universal laws which govern the universe and our daily lives as well. Until now, all human organisms who have the responsibility of individual education have failed, as experience shows us:
a) The schools and universities who inspire and constitute the official science of our time, with all of it's ambitious but unsuccessful pedagogic doctrines, it's hyper intellectualism separated from true life, with it's ignorance of the real nature of man, with it's official materialism which reduces man to a robot....that science cannot create real human beings, truly living souls. The fact that there are living souls, is not due to the efforts of our contemporary science at all.
b) The actual religions, with their rigid and fixed traditions, their forms and formulas which are also separated from true life, their compromising politics, their money and suspiciously used powers, their corrupted bureaucracy, their doctrinal theology, to summon it up: their materialism can no longer guide consciences which are searching for light, neither can they inspire souls who are thirsty for love.
So where should we go for solutions? To the authentic pedagogues, the competent life teachers, the presently living spiritual Masters, those who are there for us, and especially the ones that Providence sends in our lives. Perhaps it is more prudent not to wait until humanity is reduced to desperation to put ourselves under the guidance of spiritual Teachers. They are the ones who are truly capable of resolving our inextricable problems.
2- As to the existence of such spiritual Teachers, the ones which the Theosophes were the first to speak about in a systematic way, we cannot prove their existence (we cannot and need not prove what already exists) but we can accept it in a lot of different ways:
a) By logic: We have to consider the scale of humanity, the hierarchy of the consciences which populate our world, from the savage man to the civilized one, and extrapolate. There is simply no reason why this scale of evolution couldn’t continue above the geniuses and saints as it continues below.
b) In History: The ”Great Initiates” have always been part of humanity, being higher then the heroes and saints. Many scientists these last years, have pointed to the importance of the major “prophets” of spirit in the creation of culture and true human progress : Henri Bergson, Henri Berr, Jean Przyluski, Lecomte du Nouy; but even the most spiritual of them all still ignore the existence and nature of spiritual Masters, the most advanced beings on Earth.
c) By the actual documentation which teaches about these spiritual masters. I especially recommend the reading of L'experience Libératrice (“The experience of Freedom”) of Dr. Roger Glodel (1952), which focuses on the Hindou Spiritual Teachers of our times. There have also been great Spiritual Guides in France and Swiss at the end of the XIX century, great clairvoyants and thaumaturges on which it is easy to find information if we are willing to.
d) By personal experience and a direct and prolonged contact with such a being, and what it reveals.
e) By a sincere work of self-analysis, which reveals the hidden reasons behind our denial of spiritual Teachers in Occident, where people in general refuse to approach them. The reasons for this are of three kinds: inertia or lack of good will, which does not wish to see truth where it is and conquer prejudice as well as life and thought habits. Fear is also one of these reasons. Fear that we will be obliged to change our philosophy and way of living, to renounce usual comforts and pleasures. Fear of the public opinion and of displeasing those we love, etc. The last of these reasons is pride. Intellectual, moral and spiritual pride which attaches itself to our personal prestige and refuses to recognize living and superior human beings. The modern and civilized man does not recognize any spiritual masters other then himself.
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