“Your disciples treat you with great reverence,” remarked a visitor to a teacher. “I suppose they follow literally what you tell them, and you have to be careful. They are always saying, ‘The teacher wants this,’ or ‘The teacher doesn’t like that.’”
“They do follow literally what I tell them,” replied the teacher, “so long as they agree with it. If they don’t agree with it, they interpret it as a joke, or a sort of riddle which they have to interpret. Then they interpret it into what they want, which is sometimes the very reverse of what I have said.”
“How could they do that?” marveled the visitor.
“Oh, quite easily,” said the teacher. “For instance, I tell them not to swallow the teachings I give without examining them. I ask them to think for themselves; if they have a sensible objection, I tell them to raise it. But some of them think that to do so would show a lack of faith in me. So their doubts never really get resolved; they only get buried.
“Some of them devote themselves to what they call service, but which is really self-display and domination. Good cooks take charge of the kitchen, and make quite unnecessarily elaborate meals for us; they have no time to practise yoga. When I say that the cooking should be done by all in turn, they say, ‘Oh, but we couldn’t have badly cooked food served to the teacher.’ And one of the expert cooks goes into the kitchen just the same and bosses the beginner who is cook that week.
“I tell them not to reverence me, but to practise for God-realization and Self-realization. But they think that is all my holy humility.
“In fact, they do everything I say, if it agrees with their own preconceived ideas. And as the yogic training is based on giving up preconceived ideas, what I say does not agree with their preconceived ideas. So they do everything I say, except what I actually do say.