Discipleship (Delivered in San Francisco, on March 29, 1900)
Volume 8, Lectures And Discourses
The first condition is that the student who wants to know the truth must give up all desires for gain in this world or in the life to come.
The second condition is that the disciple must be able to control the internal and the external senses and must be established in several other spiritual virtues.
The next qualification is that the disciple must have faith in the Guru (teacher). In the West the teacher simply gives intellectual knowledge; that is all. The relationship with the teacher is the greatest in life. My dearest and nearest relative in life is my Guru; next, my mother; then my father. My first reverence is to the Guru. If my father says, “Do this”, and my Guru says, “Do not do this”, I do not do it. The Guru frees my soul. The father and mother give me this body; but the Guru gives me rebirth in the soul.
Some years ago one of your Christian teachers, a friend of mine, said, “You believe in Christ?” “Yes,” I answered, “but perhaps with a little more reverence.” “Then why don’t you be baptised?” How could I be baptised? By whom? Where is the man who can give true baptism? What is baptism? Is it sprinkling some water over you, or dipping you in water, while muttering formulas?
Baptism is the direct introduction into the life of the spirit. If you receive the real baptism, you know you are not the body but the spirit. Give me that baptism if you can. If not, you are not Christians. Even after the so – called baptism which you received, you have remained the same. What is the sense of merely saying you have been baptised in the name of the Christ? Mere talk, talk — ever disturbing the world with your foolishness! “Ever steeped in the darkness of ignorance, yet considering themselves wise and learned, the fools go round and round, staggering to and fro like the blind led by the blind.” Therefore do not say you are Christians, do not brag about baptism and things of that sort.
We are like moths plunging into the flaming fire, knowing that it will burn us, knowing that the senses only burn us, that they only enhance desire. “Desire is never satiated by enjoyment; enjoyment only increases desire as butter fed into fire increases the fire.” Desire is increased by desire. Knowing all this, people still plunge into it all the time. Life after life they have been going after the objects of desire, suffering extremely in consequence, yet they cannot give up desire. Even religion, which should rescue them from this terrible bondage of desire, they have made a means of satisfying desire. Rarely do they ask God to free them from bondage to the body and senses, from slavery to desires. Instead, they pray to Him for health and prosperity, for long life: “O God, cure my headache, give me some money or something!”
The fourth and last condition of discipleship is the discrimination of the real from the unreal. There is only one thing that is real — god. All the time the mind must be drawn to Him, dedicated to Him. God exists, nothing else exists, everything else comes and goes. Any desire for the world is illusion, because the world is unreal. More and more the mind must become conscious of God alone, until everything else appears as it really is — unreal.