Question – Beloved Osho, What is the difference between a Disciple and a Friend? Has the transformation amongst the sannyasins already happened?

Osho – The distinction between a disciple and a friend has two sides to it. First, from the side of the master it has happened. I don’t have any disciples anymore. You can relax.
From the disciples’ side it is going differently for different people. A few are relaxed — the transformation has taken place. A few are getting to be relaxed; a few are thinking to relax.

A few are unwillingly accepting the idea because to be a disciple was better: the master was responsible. Now the whole responsibility is thrown on you — and nobody wants to be responsible. Everybody wants to get rid of responsibility. There are a few who have not even heard it. They have listened to me, but it has not reached to their hearts. They still remain disciples.

So it will be different with different people, but sooner or later it has to be with every disciple, as far as I am concerned. He will have to come to drop the idea of disciplehood, and just be a friend. Your mind may give many arguments against it. You have to see through those arguments, that they are phony. For example, the mind may give very valid-looking arguments; such as, in going from being a disciple to a master to becoming his friend, you are losing reverence for the master.

That is not true. In fact, a master who allows you to be his friend is worthy of more reverence than any master who does not allow you to be his friend, who keeps you on a lower level — almost in a spiritual slavery as a disciple — and demands of you that you surrender, that you be committed. He asks you to trust him, but he does not trust you; otherwise there is no need to say, “Trust me.”

If I trust you, why is there a need to ask? My trust is enough: and my trust will know your trust, because trust creates a synchronicity, just as love creates a synchronicity. The masters who ask for surrender may be playing a game of spiritual ego. If they ask for commitment only to them, that means they are still living with the idea of possessiveness, monopoly, and they are afraid of losing you: you may get interested in somebody else. To avoid all those fears they want you to be committed so that you start feeling guilty if you feel some affinity with somebody else too.

A friend has no possessiveness. A friend wants you to be happy, wants you to be free, wants you to have all the joys of life, and has no conditions. But a friend cannot take responsibility for you: he cannot be your savior. He can help you on the path, he can show you the path, but you have to be strong enough to follow the path, to go alone like a lion.

Disciples go like sheep in a crowd. The bigger the crowd, the better the disciples feel; it is cozier, warmer, more comfortable. Just seeing that there are six hundred million Catholics, the pope feels that he must be a man of God; otherwise why should six hundred million people be following him?

It is a strange game of the ego. The crowd of sheep makes the so-called master feel that he is the shepherd. And then he starts making the crowd bigger, because a bigger crowd will make him a bigger shepherd, who owns more people. That becomes his number, his trip.

But these are not real masters. If the crowd leaves them, they will suddenly see themselves reduced to ordinary men — which in reality they are. It was the crowd which had given them a very magnified idea of themselves.

If a master allows the disciples to be friends, he is dispersing the crowd. He is making a personal contact. He is giving you equal status spiritually although he knows that much is still only potential in you, and much work has to be done so that it becomes actual. But whether it is potential or actual, your spiritual status is not lower.

That is the meaning when a master changes disciples into friends. He is giving you the recognition that you are as capable as himself. You may not be aware — that does not make any difference. At least to him it does not make any difference. To you it makes a difference that you are not aware, but that is the work that you have to do. And the work can be done more lovingly in friendship, in love, than it can be done in a certain relationship in which you are lower, inferior, a sinner — and somebody else is higher, superior, a saint.

I don’t think the reverence for such a man who makes you his friends will be less. It will be more. So don’t listen to your arguments which will try to keep you in the old relationship. It has never been done, it is true, but you can see the result: the whole humanity is proof — so many masters and so many disciples… and the world is just in a mess. People are as mad as ever. No basic change in humanity has happened.

Something in the fundamentals has to be changed. And this is one of the fundamentals: the relationship between the master and the disciple. It has to be changed. A new dimension has to be given to it. And once it becomes a transforming force, in the future no master will be able to go on playing the old game. This can become a milestone.

But as far as I am concerned, it is absolutely a fact. As far as you are concerned, there are degrees. But it has to be in you too — a one hundred percent change from disciplehood to friendship. And you will see a miracle happen, because love has never been praised so much, friendship has never been raised so high; and my whole effort is to make everything that is mundane, sacred.

Source – Osho Book “Light on the Path”

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