Commitment—the Importance of Discipleship
While a widespread search might be necessary for some seekers in the beginning, a single-pointed determination is needed to reach the goal of Self-realisation. Some spiritual seekers are soon led to their masters and path; others require a much longer time to sort things out. Each seeker has his own past, his own karma. The seeds of spiritual yearning sprout in their own time.
It is said, “When the disciple is ready, the master appears.” Great masters have a magnetism that attracts many people. But only some of them are able to receive the fullness of their master’s teachings and grace.
Here we need to distinguish followers from disciples. The followers of a master are pleased to be with him and feel uplifted by his presence and words. To them the master gives a message of encouragement and inspiration. The disciples of a master, however, are those willing to follow not only the master’s physical presence but also—more importantly—his metaphysical advice. They accept his discipline and undertake the rigorous work to reach perfection.
A story is told about a Chinese emperor whose minister brought back reports from the northlands of an enormous monastery where thousands of monks lived. They had created a place of peace and incomparable beauty. The emperor decided to visit, and when he met the abbot he commented, “What a beautiful place you have created here. How many disciples are there?” The abbot responded, “Residents are in the thousands; disciples, perhaps one or two”.
It is the commitment and receptivity of the disciple that attracts the guru’s grace and is necessary in order to receive initiation into the higher practices on the path of Kriya Yoga. To help you deepen your understanding of this concept, one of our courses (Level III) is dedicated to discipleship. Programmes are offered at Ananda Sangha, and you are also welcome to come at any time to talk with one of the acharyas.
A catalogue of books and talks on discipleship as well as meditation and Kriya Yoga resources is available at our Web site, www.anandaindia.org .