One day, the wife of Master Lahiri asked Him, since His spiritual level was so high and everybody came to worship Him, then He must be very powerful, so why couldn’t He give her more money? Meaning why couldn’t He be rich. His was an average household. She wanted more wealth, more money. So she asked her husband. Her husband was an enlightened Master.
I thought I could drive my own boat to get groceries, tour other islands, or do other things. So, I bought a small boat. The first time, someone drove the boat with me sitting by the side. It was OK. Then, when I drove myself, I realized, wow, how different it was! First, you have to learn to drive a boat from a captain or someone. You have to learn how to drive and operate a boat. You must have a coach, like when you learn to drive a car. You need an instructor. Maybe you won’t if the boat is very small. But you do for a bigger one. And for an even bigger vessel, you’ll have to learn for a few years. Understand? Learn for a few years. You have to attend courses for several years. It’s different for captains.
My boat was small, just for shopping. I thought it would be convenient. They said that it was called a water taxi. So I wouldn’t have to call a taxi. I could drive myself. Oh! I did drive, but I couldn’t find my way back. It seemed easy. I seemed to know the way. Go in this direction, and then return from the opposite direction. So how did I get lost? If you are in a car, you can stop and ask others. But on water, there’s no one for you to ask. Oh! I spent some time wondering what to do. Then a small boat passed by and he led me back. I was embarrassed. He knew the way, so he led me back. That was my first trip.
The second time, I went by myself, I thought I wouldn’t get lost again. I felt so much at ease driving alone. So pleased to be carefree in the world. It was an illusion. Halfway there, the engine stopped. The boat stopped moving. Nothing should be wrong with it. It was a new boat, after all! And it had enough gas. The small boat wanted to take a break and stopped just like that. Without telling me in advance, it just stopped. I was stuck. It was truly embarrassing! I didn’t know what to do. I kept trying to pull start it, but it didn’t work. I just sat on the boat. It was time to seek out the angels. There was no one around. Then, perhaps the angels responded. One of my neighbors saw me. I don’t know how, but he saw me from very far. Maybe he was using binoculars to see something. He saw me. “Ah?” He drove a boat over and pulled mine back. So, that was the second time. Well, so much for being so pleased to be carefree in the world. Wonderful!
And the third time, I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I just left the boat anchored there. I told my neighbors, “Having a boat is no use. It’s just anchored there and it needs maintenance. It is a shame,” I told him. He said it’s alright. All the neighbors do that. They buy a boat and then leave it there. They use it two or three times a year. Or they normally buy a big boat, because they’re rich. They have their own captain to drive them.
So, seeing is one thing, doing is another. Like some of you. I don’t mean you Some initiates have not practiced for very long and they claim to be a Master of the Ninth Level. There’s one such initiate in China. There’re also a few in Taiwan (Formosa). You don’t know how a Master suffers. It’s much more difficult than sailing a boat. I warn you, it’s better not to be a Master. Just be a disciple. Be good and practice well. I’m telling you this sincerely. There is too much suffering. Besides, people won’t be that grateful. They would treat your house like a hotel. If your house doesn’t have enough toilets, they would complain to you. And if your toilet doesn’t look nice, they would also complain. They come to see what you do, and criticize this and that: “How come a Master is like this and like that?” They made a frame and brought it here. If the Master is too big and obese and can’t fit in the frame, they begin to criticize. They start criticizing. You don’t know that I’m suffering not just inside, but outside as well. For example, more and more initiates come, and then the karma comes. Some initiates come near, and immediately… If he does some work for you, the so-called Master, then you have to give him some merits, a lot of spiritual points.
But you also become tired or exhausted. If another initiate sees you like that, he wonders why an enlightened Master is so lazy. How can a Master be sick? Then he won’t want to work, and wants to drag you out, and wants you to work to his expectation. You can’t take a break. You can’t do anything he doesn’t like. Things are very difficult. You not only suffer inside but outside as well.
Even disciples don’t understand that. Last time I told you that Jesus was criticized because someone massaged His feet. Jesus walked barefoot and had many lacerations on His feet. They might be painful, and so somebody helped rub some oil in. Sometimes when our foot hurts, we also put some oil on it. When you do, nobody says anything. But when Jesus Christ applied some ointment, people condemned Him, saying, “How can You be so extravagant? The world has many poor people. How can You be so extravagant as to use ointment?” It’s silly.
Like last time. After I arrived, I said I would rest first. The things hadn’t arrived. Neither had you. I said I could get some sleep that day. After two days, I said I was still very tired. Then somebody said, “But You’ve slept for three nights! You’ve slept for three nights. Why do You still feel tired?” He spoke in a scornful way. You guys and the whole world sleep very well every day. I rarely have a chance to sleep, and though it was just three nights, I was criticized. See? (Yes.)
Who still wants to become a Master? Raise your hand. I’ll offer you the seat right away, wish you all the best, introduce you to everyone, and I’ll retire. OK? (No.) You just don’t know. If it’s great being a Master, there would be many already. But there haven’t been many. Only Jesus and Buddha came down. In each age, there are one or two Masters. There can’t be many. You see from Buddhist sutras that when Shakyamuni Buddha was alive, Heaven and Earth, angels and deities, higher and lower deities all praised Him for being able to do things no one else could. See that? (Yes.) It didn’t seem to be a big deal. Every day He seemed to go out for offerings and eat the food when He returned. Then He sat giving lectures to people. He accepted people’s praises and let them kneel to pay respect to Him. People offered Him one or two bowls of cooked brown rice or a few packs of sandalwood powder. That’s all. So, people think it’s so simple to be a Master, to be a Buddha. Only Heavenly beings know how arduous it is. That’s why they praised Buddha. They said that Shakyamuni Buddha could do things that others could not. The whole of Heaven and hell praised Him. Heaven and Earth praised Him. Only they know how arduous it is. They sometimes shed tears, seeing Masters suffer from so much hardship. But they cannot help.
That’s the way of a Master. It’s the way it is. A Master gives merits to others and takes suffering on Themselves. Don’t think it is easy. Sometimes you really cannot tell others about your suffering. You have nobody to tell. If you have a husband or wife by your side, he or she would somehow understand you. Because he or she is with you all the time, he or she knows everything. But the outside people don’t know. Disciples come and go, just for a glimpse of your beautiful appearance. They don’t understand what a Master does behind the scenes, or behind the door, or away from your eyes. You can’t see what a Master does. It is difficult to see what He/She does without doing. But then there are some Masters. Normally Masters in India are married. They’re married like ordinary people. For example, after you are initiated by a Master and practice spiritually, since you’re young, you may still get married. Everybody is like that. Then later, maybe Heaven wants you and chooses you to be a Master. But you already have a wife and kids. It’s OK. You still have a warm and supportive family. You have someone who understands you.
But not all married enlightened Masters are understood. Not necessarily so. There’s a book on Yogananda. The Autobiography of a Yogi. In the book, He writes about His Master. No, not His Master but the Master of His Master, Lahiri Mahasaya. One day, the wife of Master Lahiri asked Him, since His spiritual level was so high and everybody came to worship Him, then He must be very powerful, so why couldn’t He give her more money? Meaning why couldn’t He be rich. His was an average household. She wanted more wealth, more money. So she asked her husband. Her husband was an enlightened Master. Maybe she was talking to herself in the mind, I don’t know. According to His wife, she saw her husband floating up to the ceiling looking down from there and talking to her. The Master, or her husband, who was enlightened, floated up and talked to her: “I’m not anyone. I’m a nobody. How can I bring you wealth?” That’s it.
From that day on, she dared not ask for anything again. She admired her husband even more. She treated Him as an enlightened Master, and not as a mundane husband. From that day on, He stopped sharing a bed with His wife. He stayed downstairs with His disciples. He was with them every day and slept downstairs. He didn’t go upstairs to sleep with His wife anymore. This story is from the book. So, not every enlightened Master is so lucky as to marry a good wife. But because He married before He became a Master, His wife might not have had good habits then. After He became a Master, she kept her habits and couldn’t change them.
There’s another Master, perhaps called Ramdas. He also wrote a book. Maybe He didn’t write it, maybe His disciples did and He was named the author. It’s like that in India. Whatever you do that is related to your Master, you do it in His name. You don’t say it’s written by you because you heard the stories from Him. For example, you heard Him tell stories and wrote them down. You would name Ramdas as the author. But the Master definitely would not write those things. He might have shared some stories when He was happy with His disciples. Then they recorded the stories and put them into a book. There are similar stories in the book. His wife… He had renounced society and left home. In India, after they reach 50, some men go their own way. They separate from their wives and families, and leave home to become wandering monks. Some become wandering monks, some go to temples to become monks.
The Master in the book was enlightened. He came home once in a while, or His wife visited Him to ask Him for money. She asked for money, as their daughter was grown up. She asked for money to pay a dowry for their daughter. Before the wedding, the bride has to buy furniture and other things. His wife wanted money for that. That is, the bride has to bring things to her husband’s house. Just that one time. Then the couple live together. “Your daughter is grown up and is getting married. We don’t have money at home. What kind of father are you? You can’t just ignore it all. You have to ask your disciples to donate some money for your daughter’s marriage. Or nobody will want her. Who will marry her if we’re so poor?”
The monk answered, “Oh! Never mind. God will take care of it. I have no money!” That was it. He didn’t care. He didn’t mind. Being married or not is the same to Him. He said that if she should get married, God would take care of it. If she was destined not to be married, so be it! So, He said it is hard to change the thoughts of worldly people.
I’m telling you these stories so that you change your concepts. Your concepts have to be correct. The path of spiritual practice is different from that of the world, and the outcome is also different. The lifestyle and ways of thinking are also different. I feel that our group is also the same. If I work with anyone for some time, for just a few days, not to mention a longer time, he would treat me as another girl. His attitude would change. It would become “You and me.” Then he’d treat me like one of you. That’s alright. It doesn’t matter. It means I’m not that frightening. It means your Master is adorable. No one is afraid of me. You feel easy with me. Nevertheless, it’s alright to forget who you are, but you shouldn’t forget who the Master is. If you forget Her, you’ll block Her Blessing Power. You’ll separate yourself from Her. You’ll build a wall around yourself. That’s not beneficial to you. You’ll create bad karma for yourself if you treat Her badly. You’ll create even heavier karma. There are many stories like that.