Is enlightenment the only way a disciple can truly express her gratitude to her master?
Even enlightenment is not enough to express the gratitude the disciple has for the master. There is simply no way.
The gratitude of the disciple remains unexpressed. It is one of those mysteries which can be experienced but cannot be explained. It will look strange to you when I say that the closer the disciple comes to enlightenment, the more difficult it becomes for him to express the gratitude – because now he is coming to a point which he has never known before. He has been grateful all the way along, but enlightenment, the experience of one’s own unfolding, is just too much. You can simply shed tears, or dance – but everything is ineffectual; it shows your intention only, but not the gratitude.
The depth and the greatness of gratitude is such that no word can express it, no experience can express it. But in a way, becoming enlightened comes closest to showing gratitude to the master – you have fulfilled his effort, his effortless effort. His presence has not been wasted on you, you have proved your mettle. It is better to say you have not been ungrateful, you have not betrayed.
Through all the ups and downs, through many dark nights of the soul, you continued having trust, love, never wavering for a moment – your enlightenment indicates that.
But there is no need to express gratitude. What is needed is to become gratitude. And then it is not a question of being grateful to the master. When you become gratitude, you are simply a gratefulness towards the whole existence. The master was only a door to the open sky, to all the stars beyond.
It is beautiful to think of gratefulness, but there are things where you are dumb. You want to say but you cannot – just the words fail, actions fail. And I am telling you, even experiences fail. It makes you transformed. Rather than just being grateful, it brings a mutation in you, a tremendous revolution – you become gratitude itself. That’s the only way.
But it has nothing to do with the master as such. When you pass the door, you don’t thank the door. The master is simply an opening. You will remain always grateful, but your gratefulness will remain unexpressed.
This is one of those things which, the moment you express them in any way they are dead. They remain alive only unexpressed.
Is the master-disciple relationship accidental, or is it a conscious choice?