It is certainly the master who chooses the disciple, but his choosing always remains indirect. He always gives a chance to the disciple to choose.
The disciple is not even aware that he has been already chosen. But without the master choosing the disciple, there is no way for the disciple to choose the master; his choice comes second. But the master never imposes, he makes it always free for the disciple to choose.
The reason is clear. The disciple is asleep; he has no idea who is awake and who is not. He is dreaming - how can he choose? Whatever he chooses is almost certainly going to be wrong. It is a rare coincidence that he may choose the right person, simply because he is unconscious, he is asleep.
Just think of this room - a few persons are sleeping and one person is awake. Now, can the sleeping persons choose who should wake them up? That is impossible. If they can choose that, then what is the need of the master? - they can wake themselves up. They are already awake if they can choose who should wake them.
The whole burden falls on the master to choose whom to wake. He has certain ways to know who is very close to awakening. Even if you are watching a few sleeping people you can decide who is very fast asleep, deeply asleep, snoring; and who is sleeping very light - a thin layer of sleep, and is already on the verge. If somebody can wake him up, it is not going to take time. But there is every possibility, if nobody wakes him, he may slip back into deep sleep, turn over again and pull the blanket over himself.
Spiritual sleep is not very different from ordinary sleep - just a little more complicated and more subtle. It is one of the functions of the master to choose the disciple but never to let the disciple know that he has been chosen. That is disturbing his independence, that is taking away his freedom.
As far as the disciple is concerned the master allows him to think that he is the chooser. That is out of his compassion. Even when the master does something, he makes it appear as if it has been done by the disciple.
You are asking... I have talked about the functions of the master - what are the functions of the disciple? The functions of the disciple are very simple. Condensed to one single word it is receptivity, non-resistance, availability, saying with a full heart "Yes!"
There should be no shadow of "No." That is the barrier. The master cannot function with a "no"
standing between him and the disciple, because he cannot be violent, he cannot destroy the "no."
He cannot remove it because all that will be interfering with the disciple's innermost life.
So it is the function of the disciple not to put the master in such a situation where he cannot work.
His yes, total and unconditional, gives the whole scope to the master to work. And now there is no question of interference: you have allowed the master to be a guest in your innermost being, you have become a host. And it is one of the greatest joys for the disciple to experience that the master has come within him and he has not resisted.
His whole life he has been resisting. He has never allowed anyone a total yes - not even his lovers, not even his parents, not even his friends, not even his children. To no one has he ever said an unconditional yes, it has always been conditional. And conditional means mixed with no. It has never been pure.
He has always been guarding himself - not only against enemies but against friends too. In fact one does not need to guard himself against enemies too much because they are always far away; they are not that dangerous. The real question is of those who are very close to you, very close to your being. They can stab a knife in your back very easily. You have to be constantly on guard.
There is an Urdu poem with a statement which is very significant. It says, "I will take care of my enemies, God, but you please take care of my friends. I am not in danger from the enemies, I know them - I am on guard. But about friends I am confused. And to be on guard with friends is painful.
So you take care of me against my friends."
It is only with the master that for the first time you put all your guards away. That's the only function of the disciple - great, arduous, but single. It implies everything: openness, readiness to go wherever the master is leading him. It is a way of becoming part of the being of the master - allowing him to be within you - now there is no fear.
This is the place that you have been guarding your whole life. You have never invited anybody to be a guest.
This is the conflict between lovers, the eternal conflict. All others are simply excuses. The basic and fundamental conflict is that the woman or the man wants to be at the innermost center of the being of the person he loves or she loves.
But it cannot happen as far as lovers are concerned because both are asleep; both are full of egos, both are capable of changing any moment. Their love can become hate, their friendship can turn into enmity. It cannot be opened for a sleepy person, so no lover has ever opened it.
And I don't see that there is anything wrong in it; it can simply not be opened. It can be opened only to a person who is awake, who cannot harm you, who is beyond harming you. The woman you love can harm you, the man you love can harm you. Not that they want to harm you, but they are unconscious beings. They may have no intention of harming you, but still, without any intention to harm you, harm can happen.
In sleep they can stumble, in sleep anything is possible. And this is the conflict that goes on. They don't know even why they are continuously quarreling. They feel sometimes that they are quarreling about stupid things, petty, meaningless, and they wonder why they go on fighting about such stupid things. But they never discover that the foundation lying underneath what they want, is that they want to become one with the lover or the beloved.
Even the act of making love is nothing but an effort to become one, somehow to become joined; rather than being two bodies, to become one body. But it is not going to satisfy because the need is to become one soul, not one body.
So love, strangely, frustrates people more than anything else in existence, for the simple reason that it goes on giving you the hope that perhaps - because this is the biggest and the greatest thing that you know - there may come a moment when you may become one. But at the most you can become one with the body, and then you are stuck; your souls are as apart as ever. There is no meeting of the souls.
After making love to a woman you are not happy, the woman is not happy. Something unknown has been missing in it - nothing that can be pointed out by them, but it was not what they were hoping for, it was not the goal of their desire. It fell short, and each time it falls short, frustration gets deeper, boredom gets deeper, hopelessness settles. One starts thinking, "Perhaps we are not made for each other. Perhaps it is time to change partners, to find somebody else."
But the same will happen with everybody. There is no way to make it a reality at that stage, where you are both asleep.
So the relationship with the master is unique.
You withdraw all your barriers, you destroy all the walls, you make all possible bridges, and you are just a welcome. And you wait patiently, trusting that when everything is ready, and even the shadow of a no is not there and yes is all over the space, the master is bound to come in. And that is the greatest gift the master can give to the disciple. You lose nothing and you gain immensely, incalculably.
So all that is needed on the part of the disciple is not to repeat old patterns of many kinds of relationships with the master. Let it be a new relationship which you have never lived. Let it be absolutely untouched by your past. Let it be unique. And that's why I insist again and again, that the disciple needs guts, courage.
To leave oneself unguarded after many many lives of guarding, protecting, not letting anyone in, has become almost second nature. To break through this whole structure, to rise above it - certainly courage, great courage is needed.
Courage simply means risking everything - whatever the consequence, not thinking of the consequence - risking your very life. It is a gamble; you don't know what is going to happen.
You have never experienced anything like that before - how can you know?
So you are putting at risk, at stake, everything that you know, for something that you know not; hence I have said many times: the path of truth is only for gamblers.
I am reminded of a Japanese film actor. He lived in America, in Hollywood, before the second world war, earned much fame and earned much money... so much that now he had no need to work. He could live for lives in luxury. So he went back to Japan, but he wanted to see Paris first, so he went via Paris.
He was staying in one of the most luxurious hotels, on the topmost floor. And there was a casino in the hotel. He went there - it must have been late evening - and he staked everything that he had earned, not even saving money for the ticket to reach home. He lost everything, and he went back to the room. There was complete silence because never before had anybody staked such a vast amount of money.
Kings had been there, emperors had been there - he defeated them all. And they all had sympathy for the man because he lost everything on just one stake. In deep silence he simply moved all around.
The next morning in the newspapers, it was announced that a Japanese had committed suicide by throwing himself under a fast-running train. The hotel manager, the hotel staff, and everybody who had seen what had happened the night before, immediately thought that this Japanese could not be anyone other than the man who had staked everything.
They all rushed to the room of the Japanese actor. They knocked, he opened the door. He asked, "What is the matter - why this crowd?"
They said, "We are sorry, really very sorry, but we thought, looking at this newspaper.... The body was almost crushed into so many pieces that they could not even recognize the face; just from the passport they understood that he was Japanese. So we thought perhaps you were the person, because last night you staked everything and you lost everything, and these are the moments when people commit suicide."
The actor laughed. He said, "I am not the one. I had earned, I had staked, I have lost. But it was only money; I have not lost myself. I can earn again; and believe me, if I earn again, I will come again and stake again! I am not such a coward as to commit suicide - for money? - which any idiot can earn. It does not matter; if I had won the money I would have remained the same. I have lost the money - I am the same.
"Before I became an actor I was with a master who taught only one thing: Remain the same in every situation, good or bad, success or victory, failure or loss - everything, as long as you are there, only a witness.
"I had a good sleep, and just now I was thinking from where to start again. But it has not scratched me."
Staking everything, knowing that you are gambling with the unknown... you may be victorious, you may be a failure, but it does not matter. You are not hoping for victory, because that will become a misery if you don't succeed. You are not afraid of losing because then again you will be miserable if you lose. Having no conditions you stake.
And being with a master, the beauty is that, although you are staking everything for something unknown, yet just in front of you there is someone who knows the unknown, who has been through the same process and has come back.
This is true resurrection. There is no other resurrection except this - dying, not knowing whether you will be resurrected or not.
But if you are with a master and you see, you feel the flavor of resurrection, that gives you a tremendous impetus to be courageous. It makes your dormant courage dynamic, alive, functioning.
It is something like a small child walking by the side of his father, holding his father's hand. The father may be worried - there are a thousand and one problems for him - but the child is enjoying the morning sun, the beautiful breeze, the flowers, the butterflies and he is asking question after question. He has no worry. He is certain - his hand is in his father's hand - and that's enough.
To be with a master is to be in a tremendously trustful atmosphere so you can easily withdraw your guards, barriers, protections; you can be vulnerable, you can be open - open to the very end. And if the master becomes a guest within you, your whole life is transformed.
You have also asked: I say the disciple needs the master; does the master also need the disciple?
Yes. In existence everything is interdependent. In existence there is nothing like dependence, nothing like independence - which are just extremes, just ideas. Reality is always in the middle of the extremes. It is an interdependence.
Here, everything depends on everything else; although no pseudo-master will accept this, that he needs disciples. He will try to prove that he is absolutely independent, he needs nothing. And that is simply nonsense.
We are not islands, we are part of a vast continent.
The master needs the disciple in the same sense as the raincloud needs somewhere to pour its water. It is heavy. The master is heavy with his experience. It is a beautiful ecstatic experience, but still, it is too much: he wants somebody to share it. And the beauty of sharing is, the more he shares, the more he finds that his experience goes on becoming bigger and bigger. It is inexhaustible.
So it is not only a question of needing one disciple; he can have millions of disciples and still he is in need of disciples. There is no limit to it. The disciple needs only one master; the master needs millions of disciples for the simple reason that something is continuously growing in him.
Enlightenment is not the end. Yes, it is the end of sleep, it is the end of darkness, it is the end of unconsciousness. But it is also a great beginning, a new flowering, an endless growth.
The master will have to share it. He cannot contain it within himself. He will die if he tries to contain it within himself. His experience will kill him.
It has happened thousands of times that people become enlightened and die immediately, almost simultaneously. Their enlightenment and death come together. The reason is that they have not created before enlightenment a certain capacity to be articulate, a certain skill to be a master - a totally different art which has nothing to do with enlightenment.
There are many people who are enlightened but not necessarily masters. A master needs expression, a master needs a certain charisma. A master needs to be so articulate that he can manage within words that which cannot be managed within words, that he can find new ways of indicating the truth, that he can impress and influence. Even people who are fast asleep - he is even capable of reaching them.
Even in their sleep he manages to talk with them, to persuade them to come out of their sleep. It is a great skill, and one has to learn it before one becomes enlightened, because afterwards there is no time.
So if you are ready to be a master and become enlightened, then you can remain alive because now you know how to share it, how to spread it far and wide, how to give it to people who have never thought about it.
Ordinary economics has a principle. Ricardo was the founder of the principle - it is that wherever there is demand, there will be a supply.
In the world of enlightenment it is just the reverse. There is no demand and the master has something - the supply comes first; then he creates the demand. The Ricardian principle does not work. We will have to say, "Wherever there is a supply, there will be a demand."
But then the person who is supplying something has to be very masterful, because people don't want it. Who wants enlightenment? Who wants the ultimate experience? Who is seeking the truth?
And the master has all the commodities for which there is no market, no customers.
And all his commodities are invisible - he cannot place them before you. He cannot give you some experience, some taste, before you are ready to be a customer. Selling invisible things, one needs tremendous preparation.
So only once in a while there is a master; otherwise people become enlightened and die. The experience is too much; it simply stops their breathing; it simply stops their heartbeat. Out of sheer joy they forget to breathe, they forget that their heart has to continue to beat. And it is so much, so big, and they are so small. They have always thought of themselves as small, and now suddenly a whole mountain has descended over them - beautiful, ecstatic, but it brings death unless they are capable of immediately sharing it.
The master needs disciples; otherwise he cannot even live. The disciple can live without the master - although he will be asleep, which is not much of a life. But still he can subsist, survive. The master cannot even survive. His need for disciples is far more urgent than the disciple's need of a master.
It is not just a coincidence that Buddha walked on for forty-two years continuously searching for disciples.
I am reminded of one instance: Buddha is coming to a village - it is just time for the sun to set. And a girl not more than fourteen years old is rushing towards a field where her father is working and may be working late into the night.
She tells Buddha, "Wait until I come - don't start speaking! I am going to take food to my father; he is going to stay late working in the field. But remember, you should not speak until I get back!"
Buddha reaches the town. The people are waiting there; thousands of people from all the neighboring villages have come, but Buddha says, "You will have to wait a little because I have promised someone that I will wait. And the person I have promised is the only person for whom I have come here, the only person who has the capacity to listen. So if I speak now, it will be useless."
It takes almost an hour and people start getting upset by the whole thing: "He is waiting for one person, and thousands of people are here. We don't have any value in his eyes - just one person?"
And then the girl appears, and that is a shock to the whole crowd; it is not even a person! Just a small girl. What can she understand?
And as the girl approaches, she says to Buddha, "You are a man of your word. I was worried, but you waited. Now you can start. And trust me - the way you have waited for one hour, I have been waiting for years to listen to you, just to see you. I have heard so much about you, I am full of you, although I have not seen you before."
Buddha speaks, and exactly what he has said, happens: the girl takes initiation and becomes part of his commune. Those thousands of people just listen and go back to their homes, saying, "He is a strange fellow! He says things which are against tradition, but the way he talks - at least when he is talking, it seems that he is right. But when you start thinking about it, when you remember your tradition, your scriptures, then things are no longer clear. He confuses us." But the girl became a sannyasin.
For forty-two years Buddha was running. Even at the age of eighty-two when he was so old, he went on. The day he died, he asked his disciples, "I am leaving my body. Do you have any questions?"
Certainly that was not the time for questions, and he had answered almost all the questions for forty-two years continuously.
They said, "We don't have any questions - you can relax. You need not worry about it, we will follow the path, we promise you. We will miss you, but we will not move away from what you have made us. Our search will continue in the same direction you have indicated."
So Buddha closes his eyes, relaxes his body, relaxes his mind - and at that very moment a man from the village comes running, and he says, "I want to ask something." Ananda, Buddha's chief disciple, says, "Be silent. Where have you been for forty-two years? Buddha passed your town dozens of times."
He said, "I am sorry. I am stupid, but it was always some excuse that prevented me. Sometimes it was that customers were there at my shop. So I could not close the shop, and I could not reach Buddha's sermon. Sometimes my wife was sick and she insisted that I should sit by her side.
Sometimes I myself was sick; sometimes there was no excuse but I simply thought, 'He is always coming and going. I can go anytime.'
"I had started taking him for granted. I had forgotten that even a buddha has to die. Don't prevent me, because it may be many lives before I meet a man of his caliber again."
This quarrel is going on between Ananda and the villager, and Buddha opens his eyes and says to Ananda, "Ananda, let him ask the question, so for the future generations it becomes something of a remembrance that, even dying, a master is willing - with his very last breath - to accept a disciple.
"And please don't stop him; otherwise it will remain a blemish on me, that I was still alive and a disciple returned empty-handed. And he has come sincerely. All those years, it would not have been of much use even if he had come; it would have been simply a formality. But today he has come - with tears in his eyes - afraid, trembling, because it is questionable whether he will meet another awakened man for many lives; and he does not want to miss the chance.
"And don't let history say that Gautam Buddha was alive, and yet somebody went thirsty from his door. I will answer him." And before his death he initiated the man.
The master has a need, a tremendous need, of sharing. But it is a strange need, because with the word "need" we think you want to get something.
The master's need is not to get something, his need is to give something. With the master even the quality of the need changes to its diametrically opposite meaning.