Osho states, “The whole function of the Master is just to bring you home – which you had never left in the first place.”
A very ancient Buddhist parable – this is from the Lotus Sutra:
A nobleman’s son wanders away as a child and becomes a homeless vagrant. In time he forgets that he ever had a home, but one day without thinking he comes to the gate of his lord’s house. He has not the faintest notion that he was born there, but stands at the gate imploring pity for his wretchedness. The noble sees him from within and recognizes his long-lost son even after all those years, but when he calls him to come in, the miserable beggar is frightened and will not.
The beggar even tried to escape. And the noble – his father – was very much afraid he may be lost again. “How to persuade him to come in? How to persuade him that this is your house, you need not be afraid – that I am your father?” He must have been very wise.
He sends a servant to persuade the beggar, saying, “We need a servant in the house. Would you like to have the job?”
The beggar is ready for that. Some small work is given, he is taken back as the humblest servant in the household, and then little by little promoted, until finally he again resumes his name, when the house and its wealth and treasure all become his.
That’s the whole function of a Master – to create a thirst, a great desire, a longing to know the truth, and then to help you, by and by, to understand that the truth is not somewhere far away from you, it resides in you. But you will not be ready to hear it so directly. You will be as frightened as the beggar. If the master of the house had told him immediately, “You are my son,” he would have escaped. He would have thought, “There is some trap in it.” How can he be the son of this rich man? He is a beggar.
The master was really, very very wise. Slowly, slowly he persuades. On the way to becoming a Buddha you have to be persuaded very, very slowly. The Master initiates you, you become a sannyasin, a bhikkhu, this and that; then, by and by, you start having mini-satoris, then bigger satoris, then samadhis. You go on being promoted. One day, suddenly, you know that all this has been just a trick. What you have become finally, you have always been. But the Master has to be very persuasive, seductive.
The Master is not giving you anything. There is nothing to give. He is simply giving you something that you already have. Rather than saying that the Master gives you something, in fact, he takes many things away from you. He takes those things which you don’t have and you think that you have, and he gives you those things which you have but you think that you don’t have.
The whole function of the Master is just to bring you home – which you had never left in the first place.
Osho, Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 3, Ch 5, Q 1 (excerpt)