Milarepa, the great Tibetan Yogi, came to his guru one day and begged to be accepted as a disciple. “Master, my faith in you is beyond words,” asserted Milarepa. “What is the extent of your faith?” asked the guru. “It is as wide as the limitless skies,” came the answer. The guru heard the words but wanted to put the disciple to a test.
“Here are some bricks,” he told Milarepa. “Build a platform right here, with these.” Milarepa set to work immediately. He built a beautiful platform that he felt should please his guru. When the guru arrived, he exclaimed, “What a fool you are, Milarepa! You have wasted all your time and energy. I did not want a platform here, at this corner, but at the other corner.”
Milarepa thought, “I clearly remember the guru pointing to this spot, but I shall not let my faith be shaken. I must be wrong, and the guru is always right!” He dismantled the platform and started building a new one at the other corner.
After a few days, the second platform was ready, and Milarepa approached his guru. Once again, the Guru was dissatisfied and said, “What a careless fellow you are! I did not want the platform here!” Milarepa was exasperated but controlled himself and said, “Let me not doubt the Guru!” He built a third platform.
The process was repeated several times. And now, Milarepa could take it no longer. He lost his patience. His faith was completely shaken. He wanted to run away from the guru. The guru’s wife sensed it and came to his rescue. “The guru is only testing you!” she comforted him. “It was you who told him that your faith was limitless as the skies. Where is your faith now?” Milarepa’s faith was renewed. He built yet another platform.
When it was ready, the guru embraced him, saying, “You are truly my own. Let me share with you the secret which I have shared with none else.” Milarepa sat at the feet of the guru and received from him what only a guru can pass on to his disciple. He was enlightened.
(Dada J.P. Vaswani is a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)