Bahauddin El-Shah was sitting with a number of disciples when a number of followers came into the meeting hall. El-Shah asked each of them, one by one, to say why he was there.
The first said: You are the greatest man on earth.
I gave him a potion when he was ill, so he thinks I am the greatest man on earth, said El-Shah.
The second said: My spiritual life has opened up since I have been allowed to visit you.
He was uncertain and ill at ease and none would listen to him. I sat with him, and the resultant serenity is called by him his spiritual life, said El-Shah.
The third said: You understand me, and all I ask is that you allow me to hear your discourses for the good of my soul.
He needs attention and wished to have notice paid to him even if it is criticism, said El-Shah. This he calls the good of his soul.
The fourth said: I went from one to another practicing what they taught. It was not until you gave me a wazifa exercise that I truly felt the illumination of contact with you.
The exercise I gave this man was a concocted one not related to his spiritual life at all, said El-Shah. I had to demonstrate his illusion of spirituality before I could arrive at the part of this man which is really spiritual, not sentimental.
The search depends on the seeker. Masters can only show the way. The search depends on the seeker – what quality of being, what quality of inquiry the seeker brings to the search. Everything will depend on it, on why he is in search, what the reason is, because the reason of the search will become the cause of his growth. If the reason is wrong, from the very beginning he has taken a wrong step, and the right end cannot follow a wrong beginning. The first step is the last step also, because the first step implies in it, has in it already, the last step as a potentiality.
The seed is the tree because the seed will become the tree. The end will come out of the growth of the seeker, and if from the very beginning a wrong reason exists to seek and search, then everything is going to be in vain.
The masters can only show the way, they can only indicate. Everything else has to be done by you, by the disciple. The discipline is not going to be imposed; no master ever imposes a discipline on anybody. He helps you to find your discipline – that is the difference between a pseudo-master and a real master.
A pseudo-master is one who has already a ready-made formula, a pattern. He imposes that pattern on each and everybody, whosoever comes to him. The man who comes is irrelevant to a pseudo-master. The man who comes is just a number, not a person, just something on which he can project, impose his discipline – which is a ready-made phenomenon. He has already the blueprint in his mind. A pseudo-master kills many people, destroys many people, because everybody has his own blueprint of growth within him. No outer discipline is needed.
A real master, a master like Bahauddin, does not impose anything on you. He simply helps you to find your discipline, he helps you to seek your way. He helps you to grow, not according to him but according to your own being – because you are the seed and the tree is going to come out of you. The master can at the most be a loving gardener, a compassion which goes on showering on you. But it nurses you, it does not impose anything upon you.
With a real master also you will die. But there will be a resurrection. With a pseudo-master you are simply destroyed with no possibility of any creation out of it.