Let me tell you a story about misuse of occult powers. About one hundred and fifty years ago there was a spiritual Master named Matsyendranath. His dearest disciple’s name was Gorakshanath. When Matsyendranath realised that Gorakshanath would also become spiritually great, he told him, “Look, two lions cannot live in the same area. We should not stay together now. You should go somewhere else to roam. You have the capacity. You should now guide the world, as I am guiding it.”
Gorakshanath felt miserable, but he had to listen to his Master’s command. So he left Matsyendranath and stayed away for six years. At the end of six years he returned to the place where he had parted from his Master. When he got there, he asked his brother disciples and the people who were in the neighbourhood if they knew where his Master was. They all said, “We can’t tell you where the Master is.”
Gorakshanath pleaded with them, saying that he had not seen his Master for six years and that he was Matsyendranath’s dearest disciple, but they all said, “No! You are not his dearest disciple. You are just making yourself important. And if you are his dearest disciple, then you should listen to his command. He told us that nobody should be allowed to know where he is.” And they refused to tell Gorakshanath where his Master was.
Finally Gorakshanath became furious. He said, “Now I shall curse you. For twelve years you will have no rain at all. That means no crops, no food, no drinking water. All of you will die of starvation if you stay here. Only on the condition that my Master comes back here will this curse be lifted before the end of twelve years.”
The drought began immediately. When conditions became serious, the King of that particular area went to Gorakshanath and pleaded with him to lift his curse, but Gorakshanath refused. The drought continued for two and a half years. When word of Gorakshanath’s curse finally reached Matsyendranath, he went back to the area immediately. Then it began to rain. Matsyendranath stood in front of Gorakshanath and said, “I am so happy to see you again.”
Gorakshanath immediately recognised his stupidity. “Forgive me, Master,” he said. “I am ashamed of what I have done to these people.”
But Matsyendranath said to his favourite disciple, “You have not done anything wrong. These people were all corrupt. They deserved this kind of punishment. It will help them lead a better life.”
Gorakshanath said, “But I did not know that. I merely wanted to punish them. I was angry. My action was bad because my motive was bad.”
“I am not offering any false justification,” said Matsyendranath. “Your soul knew that they deserved punishment. What you have done is right.”
When the Master uses his compassion-power, he uses it to protect his disciples as well as to correct their misdeeds. The Master ultimately wants perfection from his disciples. Compassion is the means. Perfection is the end.
The same Master and the same disciple had another significant experience. Gorakshanath had tremendous pride because he had realised the Truth and attained occult power, so Matsyendranath wanted to show him that using occult power can be extremely dangerous. Here is the story of that incident.
A Yogi once came to Gorakshanath and started insulting him and his Master, Matsyendranath. Gorakshanath said, “Don’t you dare speak about my Master that way! I have tremendous occult power.”
The Yogi challenged him, “Show me your occult power!”
“Here is a knife. If you strike me anywhere on my body you will not be able to injure me at all. This is my power.”
The Yogi started stabbing Gorakshanath but not even a hair of his body was destroyed. Then the Yogi said to him, “All right. Whenever I struck you there was always a sound. Although you were not injured, my blows created a sound. But if you strike me with the same knife, not only will you not be able to injure me, but also you will not be able to produce any sound.”
Gorakshanath started striking the Yogi with the knife and the Yogi’s claim proved true. There was not even any sound. The Yogi then said to Gorakshanath, “If one identifies with the Infinite, then no sound will be produced by a blow. This proves that I am superior to you in occult power.” Pleased with his victory, the Yogi walked away.
Matsyendranath was somewhere else when all this occurred, but Gorakshanath concentrated deeply on him in order to speak to him about this experience. His vision told him that Matsyendranath was in an ashram in Mayapuri, Illusion City. To his wide surprise he saw his Master surrounded by many beautiful girls. They were dancing around him and he was enjoying vital life, emotional life. Gorakshanath said to himself, “How can it be? My Master is of the highest order. Perhaps my vision is wrong.” Again Gorakshanath concentrated and he saw the same scene. This time he was positive that his Master was there. “My Master has fallen!” he thought. “He is surrounded by so many beautiful girls, all singing and dancing. He is enjoying all kinds of vital life. I must save him.”
So Gorakshanath opened his heart centre and transported himself to the ashram in Mayapuri occultly. At the gate he asked about his Guru. The gatekeeper said, “Matsyendranath? Your Guru? He has fallen. What he was and what he has become now! He has fallen to such an extent that I cannot believe it.”
Gorakshanath immediately wanted to go and rescue his Guru, but the women would not allow him to approach Matsyendranath. Gorakshanath had to use his occult power to become a beautiful woman and join in the dancing and singing. When he came near Matsyendranath in the guise of a dancing girl, Matsyendranath could not recognise his disciple. Then Gorakshanath had to use his occult power to speak to his Master. “Master, what are you doing here?” he cried. “What kind of life are you leading? You are a God-realised soul. What are you doing here enjoying vital life?”
Matsyendranath immediately said, “Oh, I am fallen. I am fallen to such an extent! Now save me.” So Gorakshanath used his occult power and took Matsyendranath away from Mayapuri. When they had gone six or seven miles away, Matsyendranath came out of maya, illusion, and he was free.
The disciple and the Master travelled two thousand miles until they came to Matsyendranath’s ashram in North India. There Gorakshanath saw that Matsyendranath had two spiritual bodies. One body had flown with him through occult power, and the other was just before him at the destination. In a few minutes the Master who had flown with him entered into the other Master who was facing him. And suddenly Gorakshanath saw that many of his Master’s disciples were around him. He asked one disciple, “Has Master been away for a few years?”
“No,” replied the disciple. “For the last few years Master has been here and we have all been with him.”
Then Gorakshanath said, “How can this be? Master, please explain this experience I have just gone through. I cannot fathom the mystery of what has actually happened.
Matsyendranath replied, “I had to do all that just for you. You had all kinds of occult power, but your pride was too great. You were very austere and rigid in your spiritual life. You looked down on women. I told you repeatedly that by looking down on women you would not be able to perfect and transform your life. You did not care for women’s liberation from ignorance. You felt that women are an open door to hell and that it is they who create all problems, especially vital problems, in men’s lives. But this is not true. It is men’s own imperfections that create problems. Men have weaknesses; and when they project these weaknesses onto women, they feel that women are the cause of all their problems. Both men and women are God’s creations and they both have to conquer the lower vital movements. Right from the beginning I have been telling you that women must not be shunned. They have to be helped, freed from the mire of ignorance.
“You are my best disciple. I gave you all kinds of occult power, but you were defeated by that Yogi, only because of your pride. Now that you have been humiliated, now that your pride has been smashed, I wish to tell you something. Although you are my student and although you lost to that Yogi, before long you will surpass both him and me. You are my student today, but tomorrow perhaps I shall be your student. Because today you have conquered your pride, because today you are seeing the Truth in a divine way, your tremendous potentiality will now be able to come to the fore. You are bound to surpass us. Also, when you became a woman in order to approach me, in order to help me, you learned not to shun women. You came to realise that men and women must go together toward the transcendental Goal. Now that you have learned this truth from me, there is nothing else that I can teach you. All that I have, I have given to you; and by the Grace of the Lord Supreme you have surpassed me.” Then Matsyendranath folded his hands and bowed to his disciple.
by Sri Chinmoy