Ramakrishna Paramahansa was an Indian Hindu mystic and saint in the nineteenth century Bengal. Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk and a chief disciple of Ramakrishna. Once Ramakrishna attained enlightenment, his focus on Vivekananda grew even more since he saw the latter as a means to spread his message around the world; he saw Vivekananda as a vehicle. And even Vivekananda had immense reverence towards his master. Their bond is something which is talked about in a cherishable manner even today.

So here’s a story, trying to establish the master’s role, as told by Ramakrishna.

A tigress died while giving birth to her cub. When born, the cub was raised by a herd of goats. The new-born immediately took to their ways – chewing grass, staying meek and silent. Not even in his dreams he could imagine that he was a tiger. 

Then one day, an old tiger came across this herd of goats. And he couldn’t believe what he saw! A tiger walking sheepishly with a bunch of goats, like it’s completely normal. The goats were not a tad bit afraid of a tiger walking amongst them and the tiger seemed to walk like a goat himself. 

The old tiger, after a lot of effort, got hold of the tiger. The tiger screamed, cried and tried to run away from the old tiger as far as possible but in vain. The rest of the herd escaped from the old tiger.

The old tiger dragged him to the lake in spite of him resisting the move to the best of his abilities. The lake was a silent mirror. With tears in his eyes, the tiger looked at himself in the lake’s calm water and he couldn’t believe what he saw – he looked just like the old tiger. Eventually, the tears dried up and a new sense arose in him, with ideas about being a goat having disappeared. 

He was still shivering a bit but it was as if a great enlightenment had hit him. He was no longer the same. He could never be the same. The first spark, the first ray of light had finally entered him and for good. 

The old tiger took him to the cave. He was no longer resistant or reluctant or afraid. He took to the cave gradually. The old tiger served him some meat but he wasn’t too keen on eating it. But when forced to place his nose near it, something inside the tiger immediately switched. It was as if some switch which had been off for so many years suddenly turned on. Once he tasted the meat, he roared with joy and in that roar the goat disappeared and his true nature of a tiger came alive! 

The master (like the old tiger) is always there to look after you, no matter how much you resist. He will drag you to the lake to show you your true nature. He will take you to your true resting place, the cave in this case. He will get you to eat meat so that an explosion occurs inside of you. At the end of this entire process, the goat inside of you will disappear and a Buddha will be born.