Irritated by the Master's paradoxical language, a philosopher from Europe exclaimed,
"I have heard it said that east of the Suez Canal two contradictory statements can be simultaneously true."
The Master enjoyed that one.
"East of Suez" he said, "and one inch into Reality.
That is why Reality is an unintelligible mystery."
There were no clocks in the monastery.
When a businessman complained about the lack of punctuality, the Master said:
"Ours is a cosmic punctuality, not a business punctuality."
This made no sense to the businessman, so he added:
"Everything depends on your point of view. From the viewpoint of the forest, what is the loss of a leaf?
From the view point of the Cosmos, what is the loss of your business schedule?"
"Why are more people not enlightened?"
"Because it isn't Truth they seek but their convenience" said the Master.
He showed this by means of a Sufi tale:
A man in need of money sought to sell a rough carpet in the street.
The first man to whom he showed it said:
"This is a coarse carpet and very worn."
And he bought it very cheaply.
A minute later the buyer said to another man who happened along.
"Here is a carpet soft as silk, sir; none like it."
Said a Sufi who had witnessed the scene,
"Please, carpetman, put me into your magic box which can turn a rough carpet into a smooth one, pebble into a precious stone."
"The magic box, of course" added the Master "is called self-interest: the most effective tool in the world for turning truth into deception."
"I thought that spirituality has nothing to do with politics"
said a somewhat shocked disciple when she first became acquainted with the Master's political activities.
"That's because you have no idea what spirituality is all about" was the Master's reply.
Another day he called out to her and said "You have no idea what politics is all about either."
Is there such a thing as selfishness love? Someone asked.
In reply the Master said:
Mr Dogood stood anxiously by as the angels in heaven examined his records. Finally the Recoding Angel looked up and exclaimed:
"But this is fabulous. This unheard of! In your entire life you haven't commited even one tiny little sin… not so much as a signle little peccadillo in a whole lifetime! All you did were acts of charity. Now under what category can we let you into heaven? Not as an angel because an angel you are not. Not as a human being because you haven't a single weakness. So we're going to send you back to earth for a day so that you can commit at least one sin - and come back to us as a human being"
Poor sinless Mr Dogood found himself back at the street corner of his hometown, unhappy and bewildered, determined to stray at least one little step from the straight and narrow. An hour passed, the two, then three, and still Mr Dogood stood there helplessly wondering just what he ought to do.
So when a solidly built woman gave him a wink he responded with alacrity. The lady was far from young or pretty - but she was his passport to heaven, so he went off with her for the night. When day dawned Mr Dogood glanced at his watch. He must hurry. Half an hour more and he would be carried off to heaven again. As he was putting his clothes on he suddenly froze, for the olf lady called out from bed "Oh dear, dear Mr Dogood, what a great act of charity you have done tonight!"
An art writer was giving a lecture at the monastery.
"Art is found is a museum" he said
"But beauty is found everywhere, in the air, on the ground, all over the place, free for the taking - with no name attached to it."
"Exactly like spirituality" said the Master the following day when he was alone with his disciples,
"Its symbols are found in the museum called a temple, but its substance is everywhere, free for the taking, unrecognized, with no name attached to it."
The Master, fascinated as he was by modern technology, refused to call it progress.
True progress for him, was "heart progress", "happiness progress", not "brain progress", or "gadget progress".
"What do you think of modern civilization?" he was once asked by a reporter.
"I think that would be a very good idea" was his reply.
When talk of Modern Progress came up one day the Master told of two visitors from a developing country.
He asked about the economic state of their people. One of the callers took offence. "But man" he said, "we're civilized; we even have a couple of ammunition factories!"
To a social worker the Master said
"I fear you are doing more harm than good."
"Because you stress only one of the two imperatives of justice."
"The poor have a right to bread."
"What's the other one?"
"The poor have a right to beauty."
The Master's complaint against most social activists was this:
what they sought was reform, not revolution.
"There was once a very wise and gentle king" he said
"who learnt that there were a number of innocent persons in his state prison.
So he decreed that another, more comfortable prison be constructed for the innocent."