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Anthony de Mello

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How spiritual organizations grow: A Guru was so impressed by the spiritual progress of his disciple that, judging he needed no further guidance, he left him on his own in a little hut on the banks of a river. Each morning after his ablutions the disciple would hang his loin-cloth out to dry. It was his only possession! One day he was dismayed to find it torn to shreds by rats. So he had to beg for another from the villagers. When the rats nibbled holes in this one too, he got himself a kitten. He had no more trouble with the rats but now, in addition to begging for his own food, he had to beg for milk as well. “Too much trouble begging,” he thought, “and too much of a burden on the villagers. I shall keep a cow.” When he got the cow, he had to beg for fodder. “Easier to till the land around my hut,” he thought. But that proved troublesome too for it left him little time for meditation. So he employed labourers to till the land for him. Now overseeing the labourers became a chore, so he married a wife who would share this task with him. Before long, of course, he was one of the wealthiest men in the village. Years later his Guru happened to drop by and was surprised to see a palatial mansion where once a hut had stood. He said to one of the servants, “Isn’t this where a disciple of mine used to live?” Before he got a reply, the disciple himself emerged. “What’s the meaning of all this, my son?” asked the Guru. “You’re not going to believe this, sir,” said the man, “but there was no other way I could keep my loincloth!” 🙂