The knack of choosing a Master

1001 Tales Discourses

Osho tells a story about the Sufi mystic, Junaid, who had lived with almost all the great masters…

Sufi Art

A man came to see me. He was talking about his master and he said: This man is very humble. Sometimes he has even touched my feet. He is so humble and so simple….

I told the man a story.

It happened that somebody asked a Sufi mystic, Junaid — it was known that Junaid had lived with almost all the great masters of that time while he was learning and seeking and searching — how he had known that these were the real masters because there were thousands of pretenders to one real master. He had the capacity to judge immediately who was real, and he avoided the pretenders and always went to the real.

When he himself became enlightened somebody asked: One thing has remained a mystery to us. How could you know, when you yourself were not enlightened? What was your criterion? Almost always you were right. What knack have you got? Is it just a hunch that somehow you know, or do you have a method for it?

Junaid said: I had a method for it. I would go to a person who was known to be a master and I would be very humble, very self-effacing: I would touch his feet with tears flowing from my eyes, I would fall down on the earth, I would completely self-efface myself, and then I would watch. If, at seeing my humbleness, the man became arrogant, domineering, I would escape from him as somebody escapes a plague. I would escape from him fast, as fast as I could.

The enquirer asked: And if the man didn’t become domineering and possessive and dominating and arrogant, then? Said Junaid: If I was self-effacing and I saw that the other man, the master, also became self-effacing, humble — when I touched his feet he touched my feet — then too I would escape as fast as I could.

The enquirer was more puzzled. He said: I came to solve the mystery. You have made it more difficult. In both ways you would escape? Then when would you stay there? How did the master have to react? Said Junaid: He had not to react at all. Whether I self-effaced myself or not, he had to remain himself. If he became arrogant that was a reaction — seeing a humble man he wanted to dominate him. If he becomes humble himself, it meant that seeing a humble man he was now in competition — he wanted to prove that he was more humble than me. That too is arrogance, very subtle, but that too is ego. It is saying: You cannot prove that you are more humble than me. So, he would start self-effacing himself.

I would escape from both types of people and I would stay with the person who simply looked at me and remained himself, who did not react. He had attained to equilibrium, to balance, to what Hindus call stith-pragya: a man whose inner flame of consciousness does not move now, there is no wavering inside. He does not react, he has no mind to react, whatsoever you do is the same to him. You cannot disturb him in any way whatsoever. This man I would remain with.

Osho, Tao, The Three Treasures – Talks on fragments from Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Vol 2, Ch 9 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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