- Author Hazrat Inayat Khan
There was once a young man who was the son of a famous teacher. This teacher had a number of pupils from all over India. Not only was he a very great teacher himself, but he had trained many other teachers; in fact in nearly every village and town there was by now a teacher who had been one of his disciples. Of course this son of his had received all kinds of attention.
Now the son when still a boy one day had a dream, and in this dream he saw himself visiting all the saints. He dreamt that there was a great gathering of saints and spiritual teachers and masters. He was accompanying his father, but whereas his father was admitted to the gathering, he himself was not allowed in.
He felt this as a severe humiliation, so when he woke up next morning he went to his father and said, «I have had a very unhappy vision, for although I went with you to this gathering, you were allowed in and I was not!»
His father replied, «This is a true message for you. To enter the spiritual path it is not enough for you to be my son; it is necessary for you to become someone’s disciple. You have to learn what discipleship means.»
But the son kept thinking to himself, «I am the son of a great teacher; from childhood I have learned so many things. I have inherited my father’s knowledge. However great any teacher was, yet when he met my father he paid him such respect, such great respect. There cannot be anything better in these teachers than there is in me.»
So he thought he should stay with his father and said, «Can there be anyone better than you, Father, that I should become someone else’s disciple?»
But his father answered, «No, I am no use for that. You must have some other person who is suitable for this purpose.»
«Who?» asked the young man.
The teacher replied, «That pupil of mine who was a peasant and who is teaching among peasants. Go to him and be initiated by him.»
The son was very surprised, for he knew that this teacher was not well educated. He was illiterate; he was not of high birth; he had no special reputation; he was not famous in any way. He was just living in a village in humble guise. For all that, his father sent him there.
So he traveled on foot, not very willingly, till he came to the village where this peasant lived. It so happened that this man was on his way on horseback from his own farm to another, and he saw the young man coming towards him.
When the young man came near and bowed before him the teacher looked down on him and said, «Not enough.»
Thereupon the young man bowed to his knees.
The peasant teacher again said, «Not enough.»
Then he bowed down to his feet, and still the teacher said, «Not enough.»
So he bowed down to the horse’s knees, but again the teacher said, «Not enough.»
So the young man bowed once more, this time to the horse’s feet, touching the horse’s hoof. Whereupon the peasant teacher said to him, «You can go back now; you have had your training.»
That was all! No exercises, no sacred word to learn, nothing to study, no training course. He had learned the lesson he had to learn. It was for this that he had come, a lesson which his father could not give him. So now he was admitted to the circle of the mystics.