Once upon a time, Manu asked his teacher 'Dear Guruji, how many truly enlightened people are alive on this planet today?'. Chai Baba answered 'Truly enlightened ?'. 'Yes, 100 % enlightenment' said Manu, 'any less won't do'. 'I really don't know', said Chai Baba, 'they tend to keep a low profile'.
'Why is that ?' asked Manu in dismay, 'Why don't they come out of their hiding places and teach the world?'. Chai Baba replied 'The universe has others to do that - the enlightened ones only need to exist in order to support the Supreme. Besides, they wouldn't last long out there'. 'I still don't understand' said Manu, 'I so much would like to meet one'.
'Please Guruji tell me, how many do you think there are ?' Manu asked. 'Maybe ten or a dozen, I guess' replied the teacher. 'Only that much ? What a disaster !' Manu shouted, 'please Guruji give me some hope and tell me that there are more'. 'My biggest bet would be 100, but truly that is just wishfull thinking.' Chai Baba replied.
'Oh Guruji you make me sad. How is it possible with so many people doing yoga and honestly trying to lose their ego like I am, that only so few succeed ?' Manu asked. Chai Baba smiled and said 'That is very easy to answer my son, because the first reason why only few succeed is that losing the ego is not something that can be done.'
'What are you saying now ?' Manu sighed, 'are all my efforts in vain ? Have you been teaching me only nonsense ?'. 'Of course not, shanti shanti dear boy, all your efforts to remove your old nonsense by doing yoga, meditation and good deeds are very necessary to allow that which cannot be done to happen' Chai Baba replied. 'Why does it have to be so difficult ? I don't even understand half of what you're saying!' Manu complained. 'But you do understand my boy, you just cant' accept that in the end there is nothing you can do, there is nothing to be done, you just have to give up the doing, give up controll and surrender to the grace of the divine'. 'OK!' replied Manu, 'then that is what I will do ! From now on, I completely surrender whatever I do or don't do to God and then I will be enlightened soon for sure!'.
Chai Baba sighed, 'I said that this was only the first reason why it is really very difficult to lose the ego'. 'Oh no' said Manu, 'what else do you need from me so that I can become truly free of the suffering of this world?'. Chai Baba answered 'I need nothing my son and that is the clue. As long as you still need your enlightenment, as long as you still feel the need to escape from suffering, you can't get it. Only when you got it, you get it. It is really very simple.'
'Then what, what ?' Manu mumbled, 'is there no way out ?'. 'Sure there is my son, even if you think you are not enlightened, you can always give it your best shot' Chai Baba replied. 'But I am so very much not enlightened !' Manu cried, 'how can I pretend to be something I am not ?'. 'That is just what I am saying my dear friend,' answered Chai Baba, 'no need to pretend anything. Just give it your best, again and again. Try to stay in your light and don't believe in your darkness without hating it. Accept that everything is fine as it is, yourself included and that you are just trying your best as every enlightened being is doing'.
'Aren't enlightened beings supposed not to need to try to be enlightened ?' Manu asked. 'Sure they are my dear, but they are still free you understand. That they brought yoga to the very end doesn't mean that they lose their freedom to be whatever they want right ? That would be ludicrous. They are just really chosing to be enlightened and so can you' Chai Baba assured. 'Really ?' Manu smiled. 'Really!', Chai Baba answered. 'Just drop the issue and it will be solved in good time. Now make me some chai because all this talking has dried my throat.' Manu got up from the seat at his master's feet and said 'OK master, I will do so at once and I will give it my best shot !'. 'Good, start with chai and end with enlightenment' smiled Chai Baba.
'Hey Guruji, one last question ?' Manu tried. 'Sure, shoot' Chai Baba replied. 'Is that how truly enlightened beings hide, by pretending to just give it their best shot ?' Manu asked. Now Chai Baba cried : 'Why don't you just pretend to be a good chai wallah* ?'.
* A Chai Wallah is somebody who makes chai (indian milk tea).