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The Guru and the Disciple

We cannot easily get over the old psychological prejudices concerning the externality of things. To overcome these prejudices, there is a need to purify one's mind. Many methods were suggested by the ancient sages, such as humble service of the guru, humility in conduct, and gaining a clarity that is free from the desires that arise from a false perception of the world.

Even today, in this most modern of times, the necessity for a guru cannot be avoided, because no one is so wise as to know everything about the future. All problems are new when they come. So, we require a superior to guide us.

The teacher should not be one at variance with his knowledge. He should be "ananya," or "non-other." An "ananya" is one who is not different from that which he teaches. Nowadays, we have learned men, professors, who are supposed to be repositories of knowledge, but their life is different from what they preach. Knowledge becomes meaningful when it is lived, and not merely taught, or heard or read about. You approach a guru who is established in the knowledge that he has acquired, in whom knowledge has become a part of his being and life and practice, and who has also the blessing of the power of expression. This knowledge cannot be obtained through mere study for oneself. It requires the grace of a Master.

Academic knowledge is also knowledge, but it cannot carry conviction and cannot transform your heart. What you gain through the guru is full of living force and energy and vitality and power that the guru conveys to the disciple through initiation, by which the guru enters the mind of the disciple. The relationship between the guru and the disciple does not break with the body. Even if the guru dies physically, or the disciple passes away from this physical world, the relationship between them does not cease, because the guru-disciple relationship is not merely physical or social. The influence on the student by a teacher in school is surely important. The instruction that the student receives from a teacher verbally is one thing, however the benefit from the instruction may be relatively limited. On the other hand, when the guru speaks to the disciple, the soul of the guru makes an immediate impact on the mind of the disciple. This is because the guru is not an ordinary human being, but he is one who has passed through the various stages of Yoga training and acquired the ability to teach.

The student surrenders himself to the teacher wholly and solely, and the teacher takes on the responsibility of looking after the welfare of the soul of the student, and not merely his intellect. The guru is of a transcendent status, which is above the disciple, but not outside the disciple. The guru is not a person standing apart from the disciple, and so the disciple should not think that the instruction coming from the guru is an instruction coming from an external source. The guru is a 'whole' and not just a person in front of the disciple. To the disciple, the guru is not one individual among other individuals, not one person among many other persons. The preceptor is a deity before the disciple; he is the next higher stage of deity. It is a wholeness that is possible-the only possible wholeness above the level of the disciple. Each disciple is unique in himself, and the guru has to pay attention to the particular condition of the mind of the disciple.

The mind is confounded. The only way is to ask for help. Just as a person with sight can help a person without sight and can point out the way to the destination that he has to reach, so is the blindfolded soul in this wilderness of life to take the guidance of a person with spiritual eyesight. Initiation of a disciple by a guru is not mere utterance of words. It is a communication of an energy, a force. It is the will of the guru, as it were, entering into the will of the disciple, where both, have to be on the same level.

When your search is sincere, even if you have not understood things entirely, you will be taken care of by the powers of the world, and a guru or a teacher will be there in front of you.


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