There was once a great seeker who was on the verge of realisation. Every day this seeker used to pray and meditate with his friends. His friends were also his admirers and adorers, and they used to beg him to open up an ashram. As soon as he opened up an ashram, they said they would all become his disciples.
“Why can’t you become my disciples now?” he would ask.
They would reply, “No, only if you open up an ashram will we become your disciples. If you have an ashram of your own and if we become members, then you will be responsible for the illumination of our lives. Now you are not taking us seriously. So please get an ashram, and we will become your disciples.”
The seeker thought about this for some time, and he decided that it would be a nice idea: “Let me have an ashram and all the disciples will stay there.”
O God in the meantime the seeker developed a very painful boil on his right foot. The boil became very big and it gave him terrible pain. The doctor was called, and he got ready to operate. When he was about to begin, the seeker literally cried like a child. “Why is he acting like a child?” the doctor asked. “No, even a child behaves better than this. What will his friends and admires think of him?”
The seeker’s friends, who were gathered around, threatened the doctor: “If once more you insult our friend, we shall strike you. Pain is pain. Only the sufferer knows what the pain is actually like. If it is real pain, why should he not cry? So you remain silent and just do your job!”
With a mischievous smile on his face, the doctor began to operate. While the doctor was operating, the great seeker said to himself, “I could not take care of even one boil on my own body. I suffered so much because it was a foreign element. My friends are also separate human beings, separate from my life. When they enter into my life, it will be the same kind of situation. I don’t have the capacity to save myself from one boil, so how will I be able to save their inner lives?”
“O God, I am so grateful to You. By giving me a boil, You have taught me a lesson. It is only You who can take responsibility for other people. One boil is enough to illumine me. I don’t need illumination from human beings. Now I know that I will never open an ashram. I want only to pray and meditate and realise You. I will remain in supreme ecstasy, for I want only God-realisation. This boil is my illumination; my illumination is this boil.”