Devotee: Absence of Awareness
I FEEL AND KNOW IN MY HEART, I AM YOUR DISCIPLE. I DON’T FEEL I AM YET A DEVOTEE ALTHOUGH I ASPIRE TO BE ONE. IS IT THE NATURE OF BEING A DEVOTEE THAT ONE KNOWS ONE HAS BECOME ONE? OR DOES THE INNOCENCE OF THE DEVOTEE MAKE THE AWARENESS OF IT NOT POSSIBLE?
Antar Farid, the question you are asking is certainly significant. Its significance is very subtle. I will have to go step by step to make it clear to you. These are the stages a seeker moves through: the student, the disciple, the devotee. The fourth is also there but it does not belong to the seeker, it belongs to the one who has arrived; that’s why I am not counting it. The seeker is on the path. The student is not aware that he is a student. He may think he is a disciple, he may think he is a devotee; his functioning is absolutely unconscious….
The student comes almost accidentally. Perhaps he reads a book, perhaps a friend talks to him and he becomes curious. But curiosity is so superficial; it cannot make you committed and devoted for a long journey. It is very momentary. Hence the student is not accepted in the mystery schools. He is too unripe; he has to wander a few days more or perhaps a few lives more before he can be accepted by a master as a disciple…
The student is very accidental; there is every possibility that he will never become a disciple. He may go from one place to another, he may gather much knowledge. But he will never become aware of his own being, which is the only true knowledge in existence, the only knowledge that takes you away from darkness to light and away from death to immortality and away from ignorance to innocence — the only knowledge that is not information but transformation. The student is not aware that he is accidental, that he is only curious, that the search has not begun yet because deep in his heart he is not ready to go on a long pilgrimage.
The disciple knows perfectly well that he is a disciple. The first rays of understanding, awareness have penetrated his being. He knows for sure that he is no more a student; he feels it deep in his heart without any doubt that the miracle has happened, he has become a disciple.
He feels the dedication, he feels the love, he feels the commitment. Even if it takes lives to reach, he knows he is on the right path and he will certainly reach. He knows perfectly well that he has found the master. It is not an intellectual understanding; it is something intuitive just like love. In fact the Zen masters have called it “the great affair.” Love is a small affair — but to find a master is a great affair because there is no other love which will be deeper and more fragrant and more profound than that which exists between the disciple and the master. And the disciple is perfectly aware of it.
But the devotee is again a totally different phenomenon. The devotee never knows — but not because he is unconscious like the student. Devotion comes so slowly, not making any noise, that you don’t hear the footsteps. The disciple simply grows just as the child grows and becomes a young man. The young man grows and one day becomes old… but you cannot find when it happened. The disciple grows slowly, slowly into a devotee. And to be a devotee is such a total transformation that only the master becomes aware that you have changed from the disciple to the devotee. You yourself cannot be aware of it…
Difference between the unawareness of the student and the absence of awareness of the devotee is tremendous. The devotee is so full that there is no place left from where he can stand aloof and be aware what is happening. He is completely enveloped with the experience. It is so absorbing that he cannot be watchful of it. To be watchful, to be alert, you need a certain distance. The devotee has lost all distance. It is the master who recognizes for the first time the change, that the climate has changed; the disciple is no more a disciple. The student is unconscious. The disciple starts becoming conscious. The devotee is so conscious that he cannot be conscious of his consciousness. It has to be a recognition from the master, because from the devotee the distance between himself and the master is absolutely nil.
From the devotee one grows into a master, but it is a spontaneous and natural growth.
Farid, I remember these Sufi stories because of your name. Farid is the name of a great Sufi master. You are right: “I feel and know in my heart, I am your disciple.” I agree with you.
You say “I don’t feel I am yet a devotee although I aspire to be one.” Just drop the aspiration and you are one. Only the aspiration is blocking the way. Aspiration is simply a beautiful name for desire, greed.Just drop the aspiration and there is no hindrance for your transformation. You will be transmuted from disciplehood into the wider world of a devotee. Certainly you have stumbled upon a beautiful fact which cannot be possible just through intellect. You say, “Is it in the nature of being a devotee that one knows one has become one or does the innocence of the devotee make the awareness of it not possible?”
The second part of your statement is correct; the very nature of the devotee makes it impossible for you to recognize it. There is no space left to stand aside and see.
Every knowledge, every awareness needs a distance. You have to stand away; then you can see and watch, and you can know and you can be aware. But the devotee has lost all distances between himself and his knowing. He himself has become awareness. Now who is there to be aware of awareness?
This has to be understood: you cannot be aware of your awareness, because if you can be aware of your awareness you will be falling into a logical regress. Then you will have to be aware of your awareness of your awareness… and there is no end to it. Always finally you will have to decide that now this is enough. In fact you cannot be aware of your awareness because you are awareness. It comes from the recognition of the master. He can see the transformation, the change of the climate in your being.
And every master has many things to do. One of the most important things, the final thing, is to give you the indication, the kiss of recognition on your forehead you that you have entered into the most mysterious experience of life. Farid, you will never become aware of your being a devotee, but your longing to be a devotee is a hindrance. Drop it immediately! Don’t take time in dropping it, don’t postpone. There are things which should never be postponed, because the tomorrow is never certain. There are things which have to be done just here, immediately, and you will see many doors opening which your aspiration was blocking. But once you enter into those mysteries you will not be aware, because you will become the mystery itself.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Satyam Shivam Sundram
Chapter title: The great affair
11 November 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘devotion, surrenderence, love, relationship’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses: