These are the stages a seeker moves through: the student, the disciple, the devotee. The fourth is also there but it does not belong to the seeker, it belongs to the one who has arrived; that’s why I am not counting it. The seeker is on the path. The student is not aware that he is a student. He may think he is a disciple, he may think he is a devotee; his functioning is absolutely unconscious.
I am reminded of a case — it happened in the life of a Sufi mystic, Junnaid. A man came; he wanted to be a disciple. Junnaid looked at him for a long time. The man started feeling a little nervous: Why is he looking so long and so silently?
Finally Junnaid said, “To be a disciple is very difficult.”
The man said, “Then I am ready to be a devotee.”
Junnaid said, “That is even more difficult. The only thing that is not difficult here is to be a master.”
The man said, “If that is the case I am ready to be the master.”
Junnaid told his disciples and devotees, “This is a case of unconsciousness. He is not even a student, but the longing is to be a master if it is easier.”
The student comes almost accidentally. Perhaps he reads a book, perhaps a friend talks to him and he becomes curious. But curiosity is so superficial; it cannot make you committed and devoted for a long journey. It is very momentary. Hence the student is not accepted in the mystery schools. He is too unripe; he has to wander a few days more or perhaps a few lives more before he can be accepted by a master as a disciple.
Osho – “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”