The master-disciple relationship requires great trust and empathy. osho describes stages of such a relationship, and how to go from being a student to becoming a devotee who is one with the master
Man lives in a very upside-down state. Hence, whenever there is an enlightened Master, his actions, his words, his behaviour, all appear to the ordinary man to be absurd. Jesus is misunderstood for the simple reason that a man of eyes is talking to the men who are blind. Socrates is not understood for the same reason, because he is talking to people who are utterly deaf.
So has been the case with all the Buddhas of all the countries, of all the races. And, unfortunately, this is going to remain the case forever. It is something in the very nature of things.
Man is unconscious; he understands the language of unconsciousness. And whenever somebody talks from the peaks of consciousness it becomes utterly un-understandable, unintelligible. He is so far away!
By the time his words reach the dark valleys of our unconscious we have distorted them to such an extent that they have no reference at all to the origin any more.
The Master looks sometimes mad, sometimes irrational, sometimes stubborn. But the only reason that he cannot behave like you, that he cannot be part of the crowd mind, is that he has become awakened and the crowd is fast asleep.
To understand a Master you have to learn great sympathy: only that will create a bridge. That’s what the relationship of a disciple to the Master is. You can listen to a Master without being a disciple. You will hear the words but you will miss the meaning. You will hear the song but you will miss the music. You will hear the argument but you will miss the conclusion. You will know what he is saying but you will not be able to see where he is indicating.
To understand the significance—which is wordless—to understand the meaning, a totally different kind of relationship is needed. It is not that of a speaker and the audience: it is that of two lovers. It has to be a love affair; then only is there sympathy enough to have a bridge, to have communication.
Once the sympathy is there, it is not very far away from empathy. Sympathy can be transformed into empathy very easily; in fact, it changes into empathy of its own accord. Just as you sow seeds and in the right time they sprout and spring comes and there are many flowers, sow the seeds of sympathy—that is, initiation into disciplehood—then soon there will be flowers of empathy.
In sympathy there is still a little distance. You can hear—you can hear a little better than before, you can understand more clearly than before—but still things are in a state of vagueness: more clear than before but not absolutely clear yet; in a state of twilight. The night is no more but the sun has not risen yet and it is very misty. You can see but can’t decipher things accurately.
Empathy means now there is no distance anymore. Now the disciple is drowned in the Master—he has become a devotee. Now the Master is drowned in the disciple; they are not separate entities any more. They have reached the same rhythm of being, they pulsate in synchronicity.
Then there is understanding and that understanding liberates, and that understanding is immediate. You see the Master, you look into his eyes, you hear his words, you see him moving, his gestures…and they are immediately understood without any translation by the mind. The mind functions no more as a mediator. It is direct communion—not even communication but communion.
The first step is that of a student, curious but still a spectator, far away, collecting information, knowledge. The second step is that of a disciple, no more a spectator but a participant, no more interested in knowledge but tremendously interested in knowing. And the third step is that of a devotee, utterly one with the Master, partaking of his being, drinking out of his inexhaustible source, drunk—drunk with the divine.
Only the devotee understands absolutely, the disciple understands a little bit, the student only hears mere words.
Remember, you have to pass through these stages too. And it all depends on you—one can remain a student forever. If you keep the distance, if you are afraid to come close, you will be here and yet not here.
Come closer—spiritually closer. Bring your beings, unafraid, closer to the Master, closer to his light. Yes, that light is not only light, it is fire too; it is going to consume you. Be consumed, because in that fire there is great hope of a rebirth.
Extracted with permission from Ah, This! by Osho.
Copyright Osho International Foundation.
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