[Listen to Asha read this story]

It was Spiritual Renewal Week and Swamiji was giving the morning class. He started talking about a subtle point: how people who are highly advanced spiritually can still have serious flaws in their character.

“Think of light shining through a stained glass window,” he said. “When the light is dim, the colors all look gray and you can’t see the flaws in the glass. When the sun shines brightly, the colors are revealed, but so also is every flaw. So it is on the spiritual path. As a devotee advances, his energy increases and everything about him becomes more apparent—both his strengths and his weaknesses.”

To illustrate the point, Swamiji began to talk about one of his brother disciples. “He was advanced spiritually, and very close to Master. But he could also be jealous and petty in ways you wouldn’t expect in such an advanced soul.” Swamiji didn’t say this in a judgmental way, he just stated it as a fact.

It was an interesting point, and when Swamiji suddenly went silent, at first we thought he was just giving us time to absorb what he had said. Swamiji was completely still, his head slightly turned, as if listening to something none of us could hear.

Finally, Swamiji resumed speaking. In a quiet, serious tone of voice he said, “When I speak, I try to be a channel for Master. He is not pleased with me for saying those things about my brother disciple. Please consider them unsaid.” Then Swamiji described that disciple again, this time speaking only of his many fine spiritual qualities.

It was striking to see how subtle Swamiji is in his attunement to Master. And how unconcerned he was about embarrassing himself in front of us by admitting his error. The only thing that matters to Swamiji is that he please Master.

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