The first question:
When you speak on Patanjali, I feel that he is the path for me. When you speak on Zen, then Zen is the path for me. When you speak on Tantra, then it is Tantra for me. How do I know which is the path for me?
It is very simple: if when I speak on Patanjali and you feel that Patanjali is the path for you, and when I speak on Zen, you feel Zen is the path for you, and when I speak on Tantra, you feel, “Tantra is the path for me,” then the problem doesn’t exist – I am the path for you!
The second question:
Is it essential for a seeker to pass through all the stages of samadhi? Can being with a master help to shoot through a few?
No, it is not essential. All the stages are described by Patanjali because all the stages are possible, but not essential. You can bypass many. You can even go from the first step to the last; the whole path in between can simply be bypassed. It depends on you: your intensity, your passionate search, your total involvement. The speed depends on you.
That’s why it is possible to attain sudden enlightenment also. The whole gradual process can be dropped. Right this very moment you can become enlightened; that’s possible. But it will depend on how intense is your search, how much you are in it. If only a part of you is in it, then you will attain to a fragment, a step. If half of you is in it, then you will reach half the journey immediately and there you will be stuck. But if your total being is in it and you are not withholding anything, you are simply allowing the whole thing to happen right now, it can happen immediately. Time is not needed.
Time is needed because your effort is part, fragmental; you do it half-heartedly. You do it, and you don’t do it also. You move one step forward and one step backward simultaneously. With the right hand you do, with the left hand you undo. Then there will be many, many stages, more than Patanjali can describe. He has described all the possible stages. Many can be dropped, all can be dropped – the whole path can be dropped. Bring your total being to your effort.