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How I First Met The Master

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How I First Met The Master

 

The train stopped at the central station in Sofia.

 

My heart leaped with excitement. The hour in which I would meet the Master was at hand. My father went in front with the suitcase and I walked behind with the basket.

 

We went into a tram-car and in half an hour were at my grandmother's home. With evident impatience I told father that I must deliver the basket with the grapes at once. In vain he asked me to whom I was carrying the grapes. Giving no explanation, I took the basket and went out.

 

The streets of the capital were unknown to me, but friends in my native town of Varna had given me detailed directions. I took tramway number three, got off at Opulchenska Street, took the turn to the left and found the house numbered 66.

 

I knocked at a wooden gate and entered into a long narrow yard, paved with stones. A woman met me. I told her that I wished to see the Master. She pointed to the stairs at the left. Hesitatingly I climbed the steps. The woman went in front of me, knocked at a side door and then invited me to sit down on one of the two wicker chairs in the entrance hall.

 

The door opened and I jumped up. The Master was before me. I kissed his hand and he invited me to sit down again.

 

We both sat on the wicker chairs. He was dressed in light gray with a white scarf around his neck pinned with a beautiful gold pin. Kindness and tenderness streamed from him.

 

"Master, please, accept this. I brought you grapes from our own vineyard in Varna. I just arrived in Sofia with my father. I am a student in the eight class, and for two years now I have been going to the meetings of the Brotherhood in our town. My parents do not allow me to go. Every time I have to lie to them that I am going to see a friend or am going out for a walk. Please, Master, do arrange it so that they will leave me alone and I may go freely to the meetings," and so on and on I continued to relate my life to him in detail, and he listened attentively. At last I stopped talking.

 

"Truth shall set you free!" the Master said.

 

"But, please tell me what must I say to father, how to make him understand that it is no bad place I am going to," I continued to explain.

 

"Truth shall set you free!" repeated the Master, and nothing more.

 

"But please, Master, tell me a way, a method," I insisted and begged him to give me some advice.

 

Half an hour passed. Other visitors came in and I had to go. I got up, so did the Master.

 

"Truth shall set you free!" he repeated for a third time and said nothing more.

 

I kissed his hand and went out.

 

Why didn't he tell me some way, some magic method, so my parents could understand and leave me alone? Masters can do anything!

 

The moment I came out on the street I saw father pacing furiously in front of the house. He had understood where I was going in such a hurry.

 

"I didn't bring you to Sofia for this! Come home with me and you shall not go out alone until we leave for Varna! We came to Sofia in order that a doctor-specialist might examine your eyes and you! You came to this Douno! You will never see Sofia again!" And he continued scolding me until we entered grandmother's home.

 

I didn't try to excuse myself, I just kept quiet. I knew I had made a mistake. I ought not to have gone out at once in such a hurry and thus make father suspicious as to where I was going. But the mistake was made, father had work and went around town for two days. All this lime I helped grandmother with her home work. On the third day he took me to the doctor and on the fourth we started off to Varna.

 

I could not see the Master again. The train was flying on to my native town and the thoughts in my head were flying too. 66 Opulchenska Street . . . The Master . . . How kind he was . . . But why did he tell me only, "Truth shall set you free" and nothing more? ... He didn't tell me how to liberate myself from my parents . . . Maybe I talked too much? . . . Didn't give him the chance to say more . . . But no! There were moments when I lapsed into silence waiting for him to advise me and he did not say any more! . . . Strange Master! . . . May be I deserve no freedom!? . . . And the whole thing came back to me over and over again: The white wooden gate, the number 66, the yard, the stairs, the wicker chairs, the Master sitting opposite me and the words, "Truth shall set you free."

 

Months passed. At home the same quarrels began: Sundays at 9 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. But the worst thing was that at these hours I could not go out of the house at all. My brother, being a boy, was left alone and he went to the Brotherhood's school regularly. I was trying to find some good lies and most often they were not successful.

 

The words of the Master lived in me. I repeated them unconsciously wherever I went and could not understand what he meant by them and why he told me only those words.

 

One evening, watering the flowers in the garden, the words "truth shall set you free" sounded more powerfully within me and I decided to stop telling lies and see what would come of it. From that day onwards I was very careful not to say any untruth. On Sunday I asked mother to go to the meeting, she refused and I sat in my room and read a lecture of the Master. On Wednesday, the same refusal and I sat and again read a lecture. I stopped asking for permission but on the days and hours of the meetings I always sat in my room and read a lecture.

 

In a short time I could see for myself that I had been telling quite a lot of lies. Sometimes there was no need of a falsehood, I used it just without thinking. In the course of three weeks I controlled all my thoughts and words and cleansed myself of lies. It is not easy to get rid of such a bad habit but isn't it better not to say untruths! Like a sun ray deeper and deeper there penetrated into my soul the words "truth shall set you free" and I continued to work consciously on myself.

 

Now and then, due to my old habit, a lie slipped out of my mouth. But in such cases I reproached, rebuked and even punished myself.

 

Time passed on, maybe a whole year in conscious work on myself.

 

I remember the bright sheaf of sunbeams in the room. It was Sunday morning ten o'clock. Mother entered and told me in я verv snecial voice:

 

"Won't you start? I think you have a meeting this morning?"

 

The whole room was lighted. I was at a loss at what was happening. I closed the book of lectures that I was reading and without a word went out and right towards the hall where the meeting was held. And walking to it as in a dream, I repeated the words "truth shall set you free."

 

At last I understood that the Master had told me exactly what I wanted him to tell me-the magic method. One word more would have decreased the strength of the method: "Truth shall set you free."

 

Later, I read in one of the Master's lectures: "First of all a pupil must always speak the truth. No lie is permitted." That was my first step on the path of pupilage.

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