The master smiled and replied, “The key to enlightenment is understanding thyself.”
The student meditated upon this. He listened intently at every lecture the master gave on knowing oneself. He comprehended well and grew into a mature, well-balanced individual. Still, something was missing. He went back to his master.
“Forgive me, Master,” he said, “but I have taken your sage advice and come to know your wisdom deeply. In that I have come to know myself yet I do not feel enlightened. Is something wrong with me?”
“No,” the master assured. “One simply needs to let go the self.”
“How do I do that,” the student asked. His voice registered slight alarm because he had just achieved full maturity. Now he had to abandon the person he had become?
The master picked up on this and said, “Don’t worry yourself about how. There is nothing you can do.”
The master walked away leaving his student more confused than ever.
Still, the student carried on with perfect attendance to every lecture, every yoga class, every meditation seminar that the master had to offer. In fact, such a learned student was he that he, too, began teaching classes and was considered a guru in his own right. Over the years he abandoned searching for the how of enlightenment, just as his master instructed.
After decades of journeying inwardly through the realms of the psycho-spiritual hierarchy, the former student, now himself a master to many disciples, visited his ailing guru on his deathbed.
“Master,” the former student said, “I want to thank you for all of the instructions you have given me through the years. It has made me the enlightened being I am today. I shall do my best to carry forth your message to a new generation, thus sowing the seeds of authentic spirituality wherever the winds carry them.”
The master looked up at the confident, smiling boy in man’s body and said, “What instructions?”
The former student cocked his head, unsure if old age or a joke was behind his question. He said, “The instructions on becoming enlightened, of course. Now we are one.”
The master smiled a final smile and said, “We always were and always shall be.”
The former student beamed with pride as the master went on, “But now I have a question for you. This is something I meant to ask you when first we met those many moons ago, but it slipped my mind…. Why do you keep calling me master?”