The Buddha or Master is a doorway. When you are out in the street in hot sun or if you are stuck in rain and thunder, you feel the need for a shelter or a doorway.
Have you noticed that then the doorway is so inviting and charming? It is more joyful than anything else in the world? Similarly, the closer you go to the master, the more charm, more newness and more love you feel. Nothing in the world could give that peace, joy and pleasure. You will never be tired of the Enlightened. It’s like a depth without a bottom. This is a sign that you have come to the Master.
Once you come to the doorway and enter the door, the world looks so much more beautiful; it is a place filled with love, joy, co-operation, compassion and all virtues. Looking through the doorway there is no fear. From inside your home, you can look at the thunder, you can look at the storm and the bright sun too; yet be relaxed as you are in the shelter. Such a sense of security, fullness and joy comes. That is the purpose of having a Master.
The second factor is Sangha, the group. The group is very charming from a distance, but the closer you get, it brings out all the unwanted elements from within you. If you think a group is very good or very bad then that means you are not yet completely with the group. When you are totally part of that group, you will find that some bickering will come up. But you are the one who makes the group – so if you are good, your group will also be good.
Sangha has a reverse nature to Buddha. Buddha makes your mind one-pointed; Sangha, because it is of so many people, can scatter your mind, fragment it. Once you are used to it, it loses its charm. This is the nature of Sangha.
Still it is very supportive. If it were repulsive all the time, then nobody would be part of the Sangha. Do not crave or be averse. Often you crave for Buddha and are averse to the Sangha, and you try to change; but Sangha or Buddha, you are not going to change.
The main purpose is to come to the centre deep within you, which means to find your Dharma. This is the third factor. What is Dharma? The Dharma is to be in the middle. Not going to the extremes is your nature.
Your nature is to be in balance,to smile from the depth of your heart, to accept this entire existence totally as it is. Knowing that this moment is what has been offered to me, and that is how I take it. A sense of deep acceptance for this moment, for every moment, is Dharma.
(H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the founder of the Art of Living)