Enthralled at hearing the Master chant Sanskrit verses in a melodious voice, a Sanskrit scholar said: "I have always known that there is no language on earth like Sanskrit for the expression of things divine."
"Don't be an ass" said the Master.
"The language of the divine isn't Sanskrit. It is Silence."
The Master was amused at the kind of phony self-deprecation that passes for humility. Here is a parable he told his disciples:
Two men went to a church to pray, a priest and a sexton. The priest began to beat his breast and, carried away, cried out "I am the lowliest of men, Lord, unworthy of your grace! I am a void, a nothing - have mercy on me."
Not far from the priest was the sexton who, in an outburst of fevour, also beat his breast and cried "Have mercy, Lord! I'm a sinner, a nothing."
The priest turned round haughtily. "Ha!" he said. "Look who's claiming to be nothing!".
"Name one practical, down-to-earth effect of spirituality" said the septic who was ready for an argument.
"Here's one" said the Master.
"When someone offends you, you can raise your spirits to heights where offences cannot reach."
"Why… why… why?" demanded the disciple when, to his astonishment, the Master insisted on his leaving the monastery forthwith barely twenty four hours after he had been welcomed.
"Because you do not need a Master.
I can show you the way
but only you can do the walking,
I can point to the water,
you alone can do the drinking.
Why waster your time here
gazing starry-eyed at me?
You know the way. Walk!
The water is right in front of you. Drink!"
A group of pilgrims decided to include a visit to the Master in their itinerary. When they were in his presence they asked for a word of religious wisdom.
The Master, who was quick to spot people in the religion business said "Understand that you are not truly spiritual at all."
Not one bit pleased at this offence to their ego, they demanded an explanation. Said the Master:
A rabbit and a lion once walked into a restaurant.
Everyone in the restaurant stopped to look. They couldn't believe what they were seeing.
Said the rabbit to the waiter: "Lettuce please - no dressing."
"What about your friend" said the waiter. "What shall I bring him?"
"You mean the lion isn't hungry?"
The rabbit looked the waiter in the eye and said "If he were a lion, do you think he would be sitting here? He's a sham!"
Said a curious disciple,
"Give us a sign to know when one is enlightened."
Said the Master. "Here's one. You find yourself asking: Is it I who am crazy, or is it everyone else?"
In respect of preachers and priests the Master always urged people to look for competence not claims.
Two tourists were approaching Honolulu, he said, and got into an argument about the correct pronunciation of Hawaii. One said "Hawaii" the other affirmed it was "Havaii".
The first thing they did on landing was approach a native. "Aloha! How do you people pronounce the name of the island: Hawaii or Havaii ?"
"Havaii" said the native.
"A very varm welcome to both of you" said the native.
"What is the work of a Master?" said a solemn-faced visitor.
"To teach people to laugh" said the Master gravely.
Another time he declared:
"When you are able to laugh in the face of life you become sovereign of the world - just like the person who is prepared to die."
"How does one recognize enlightenment?"
"By the fact that, having seen evil as evil the enlightened person cannot do it" said the Master.
And he added "And cannot be tempted either. All the others are frauds."
Then he told the story of a smuggler who, fearing police raids, went to a very holy monk to beg him to hide some contraband goods in his monastery for, given his reputation for holiness, no one would suspect him.
The monk drew himself indignantly and demanded that the man leave the monastery at once.
"I'll give you a hundred thousand dollars for your charities" said the smuggler.
The monk hesitated, ever so slightly, before saying No.
"Two hundred thousand." Still the monk refused.
"Five hundred thousand." The monk took hold of a stick and yelled "Get out this minute. You're getting too close to my price."
"Only a foolish person would hesitate to give up everything in exchange for the Truth" said the Master.
And he told them the following parable:
During an oil boom in a small country town landowners eagerly sold every square foot of land to the Oil Companies in exchange for fortunes.
One old lady refused to sell at any price.
The offers rose to astronomical figures till one Oil Company declared it was ready to give her at any price she named. Still she held out, so an agitated friend demanded to know why. Said the old lady "Don't you see that if I sell, I'll lose my only source of income."
"I am affluent, but miserable. Why?"
"Because you spend too much time making money and too little time making love" said the Master.
The Master taught that change, even change for the good, always carried side-effects that had to be carefully examined before the change was sought: the invention of gunpowder brought protection from wild beasts - and modern warfare. The automobile brought speed - and atmospheric pollution. Modern technology saves lives - and makes our bodies flabby.
"There was once a man" he said, "who had a golden belly button that caused him endless embarassment for each time he took a shower or swim he was the butt of people's jokes. He prayed and prayed to have the belly button changed - then one night he dreamt that an angel unscrewed it and, leaving it on a table, disappeared. On awaking in the morning he saw the dream wad true - there on the table lay the shiny golden belly button. The man jumped up in ecstasy - hand his button fell off!"
A philosopher asked "What is the purpose of creation?"
"Lovemaking" said the Master.
Later, to his disciples, he said "Before creation love was, After creation love is made. When love is consummated, creation will cease to be and love will be forever."
One day when the talk turned to modern technology the Master told of a friend of his who wanted to encourage a taste for music in his children. So he bought them a piano.
When he got home that evening he found them contemplating the piano in puzzlement. "How" they asked, "do you plug it in?"
When he was a young man the Master had done a lot of travelling around the world.
He was at the port of Shangai, China, once when he heard loud screaming next to his boat. Looking out, he saw a man leaning over the side of a near-by junk hanging on to the pigtail of another man who was thrashing about in the water.
The man in the junk would push the other under the water, then yank him up again.
The two would then argue wildly for a minute or so before the dunking was repeated.
The Master rang for the cabin boy and asked what the quarrel was about. The boy listened for a moment, laughed and said "Nothing, sir. Man in boat want sixty yuan to not drown other man. Man in water say No, only forty yuan."
After the disciples laughed at the story the Master said "Is there a single one of you who isn't bargaining about the only Life there is?" All of them were silent.