the pearl diver... from Meher Baba
"When I became a lover I thought I had gained the Pearl of the Goal; foolish I did not know that this Pearl lies on the floor of an ocean which has innumerable waves to be encountered and great depths to be sounded." -- Hafiz
"In the beginning the seeker of Truth is like a man who, having heard that a priceless pearl is to be got from the depths of the ocean, goes down to the seashore and first admires the vastness of the ocean and then paddles and splashes about in the shallows and, intoxicated with this new excitement, forgets about the pearl.
Out of many who do this, one after a while, remembers his quest and learns to swim and starts to swim out.
Out of many who do this, one masters swimming and reaches the open sea; the others perish in the waves.
Out of many who master swimming, one begins to dive; the others in their enjoyment of mastery, again forget about the pearl.
Out of many who practise diving, one reaches the ocean bed and grasps the pearl.
Out of many who get hold of the pearl, one swims back up to the surface with it, the others stay stuck on the floor gazing with wonder at the pearl.
Out of many who swim up to the surface, one returns to the shore. This one is the perfect Master (Qutub) and He shows His pearl to the other -- the divers, the swimmers, the paddlers, and so encourages them in their efforts. But He can if He wishes cause another to become the possessor of the pearl without that one having to learn swimming and diving.
But God-Man or Avatar is the master of Masters (Qutub-al-Aktab), and can give possession of the Pearl to any number he likes. The Qutub is perfect Perfection, but is circumscribed by His office in regard to His help to men. The Avatar is beyond limits of function; His power and the effects of His power are boundless. The absolute perfection of the perfect Master is the same as God-Man's. The difference between them is in the scope of their functioning. One is limited, the other is unlimited."
-- Meher Baba