The Modern Disciple
As disciples of a living Master, can we pick and choose the requests we want to obey? Can we do only those things that are easy or pleasurable or quick? Can we follow the teachings half-heartedly and still feel deep love and devotion for our Master? There is a story that answers some of these questions.
The story about a modern disciple who lived in a forest with his Master. One cold night, it was storming and the roof began to leak, so the Master asked the disciple to climb up on the roof and stop the leak. The disciple wanted to follow his Masters instructions, but he thought to himself, “It is cold and dark and I will get wet and may slip and fall and may break my leg,” so he said, “Master, if I go up on the roof, I will have to go higher than you. I couldn’t possibly do that, as it would be disrespectful.” The Master went and fixed the leak.
When he came down from the roof, the Master noticed that they had run out of firewood, so he asked the disciple to go into the forest and collect some wood.
Again, the disciple wanted to follow his Master’s wishes, but thinking of the forest, he felt afraid. “It is so dark and there are wild animals out there. I could easily get hurt or be eaten alive.” So he thought quickly and said, “Master, to leave you and go out, I would have to turn my back on you. I couldn’t possibly do that, for it would be most disrespectful.” Again the Master said nothing, but went to collect the wood in the forest.
When the Master returned with the wood, it was time to prepare dinner. He cooked it and when it was ready he called to his disciple, “My son, dinner is ready, come now and eat.”
At this, the disciple came running and threw himself at his Master’s feet, saying, “O my Master, please forgive me! Twice I have disobeyed you. I could not possibly disobey you a third time. This time I will certainly do as you desire.”
Adapted from Tales of the Mystic East
Blessed are those who dance through life
loving God, singing his Name.
Merciful towards all, they feel
happiness and sadness as one.
Fountains of wisdom, love and devotion,
they’ve forgotten the senses.…
They’ve dropped the baggage
of intelligence and skill,
and walk through the world as tourists.
Awake or asleep, says Eknath,
they sing the Name,
always attuned to the One within.
Eknath, as quoted in Many Voices, One Song