The desire for enlightenment once drove an earnest and highly-determined individual to spend several years in the company of a spiritual teacher. During these years he proved himself a devoted disciple who was totally committed to the attainment of spiritual realization. When the time came for him to leave and return to his native place, his guru made him promise that he would write every month, reporting on his spiritual progress. The disciple gave his promise and received his guru’s blessing. They said their farewells and parted.
The disciple had been gone just over a month when his first letter arrived. “I am experiencing the Oneness with the Universe,” he wrote. The master said nothing, but crumpled up the letter and dropped it in the bin.
The next month’s report came promptly and stated: “The Divinity present in all things has been revealed to me. I behold It in a flower, in a stone, in the very air, everywhere.” Again the master read the letter, crumpled it up and tossed it into the bin without a word.
For four months the letters arrived regularly. In his third message the disciple declared: “The mystery of the One and the Many has been revealed to me. I now know and truly comprehend there is no difference between you and me or anything else.” Once read, this missive also ended up in the guru’s waste-paper basket. In the fourth letter the disciple said, “No one is born, lives or dies, because there is no one who exists.” This letter too was read without comment and followed its predecessors, slipping with a rustle into the trash.
After the fourth month, however, no further letters arrived. No letter in the fifth month, no letter in the sixth month, no letter for a whole year! As the time passed and brought no news, the master became increasingly curious as to what had happened with his beloved disciple. Eventually, he wrote to him inquiring about his spiritual progress, and reminding the disciple of his promise to keep him informed.
Some time later, the guru was handed a letter addressed in a familiar hand. It was from his distant disciple. The guru opened it and read, and laughed out loud with obvious delight. His attendant disciples were puzzled as to what had prompted this outburst of joy. Beaming gladly, the guru passed them the letter. They saw that it contained just three words, and the three words were: “Enlightenment? Who cares!”