The Master-Disciple Relationship Revisited

by Alireza Nurbakhsh

The relationship between a master and a disciple has often been characterized in Sufism as that of unwavering trust, where the disciple follows the master without asking questions or raising objections in his or her journey towards the truth. It is a heart-felt relationship where the disciple’s love of the master will be the force enabling him or her to follow the master towards the truth. 

A mother does not teach her children to act lovingly towards others by asking them to rely on her words only. She acts lovingly towards others and the children follow her example. In the same way, a master cannot persuade the disciple to act with loving-kindness towards others simple by giving a speech on the subject. The master acts with loving-kindness and the disciple follows his or her lead.

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