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An extract from "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues"

by Tom Robbins, 1976


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Meher Baba, Guru Maharaj, Ji, Jesus Christ and all other holy men who amassed followers in recent times have had one gimmick in common. Each of them demanded unquestioning devotion. "Love me with all your heart and soul and strength and do my bidding without fail." That has been the common requirement. Well, great. If you can love someone with that completeness and that purity, if you can devote yourself totally and unselfishly to someone - and that someone is a benevolent someone - then your life cannot help being the better for it. Your very existence can be transformed by the power of it, and the peace of mind it engenders will persist as long as you persist.

But it's therapy. Marvelous therapy, wonderful therapy, ingenious therapy, but only therapy. It relieves symptoms, ignores disease. It doesn't answer a single universal question or put a person one step closer to ultimate truth. Sure, it feels good and I'm for anything that feels good. I won't knock it. But let nobody kid himself: spiritual devotion to a popular teacher with an ambiguous dogma is merely a method of making experience more tolerable, not a method of understanding experience or even of accurately describing it.

In order to tolerate experience, a disciple embraces a master. This sort of reaction is understandable, but it's neither very courageous nor very liberating. The brave and liberating thing to do is to embrace experience and tolerate the master. That way we might at least learn what it is we are experiencing, instead of camouflaging it with love.

And if your master truly loved you, he would tell you that. In order to escape the bonds of earthly experience, you bind yourself to a master. Bound is bound. If your master really loved you, he would not demand your devotion. He would set you free - from himself, first of all.

You think I'm behaving like a cold-hearted ogre because I turn people away. Quite the contrary. I'm merely setting my pilgrims free before they become my disciples. That's the best I can do.


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