Monday, June 02, 2008

Guru-Disciple Relationship

Many people have heard stories, which are absolutely true, only about false GURUS or spiritual guides; because such stories are much more frequent than the ones about real, authentic GURUS or spiritual guides, thus people have remained with a deformed impression on the nature of the master-disciple relationship.

The authentic-spiritual link between a spiritual master and a true disciple never has anything to do with the relationship between a master and his slaves and does not imply that the disciples must forever bow and be inert at the feet of their GURU, waiting without making any personal effort for the day when the GURU will have mercy on them and give them spiritual liberation for the simple reason that they served him their whole life.

The connection between master and disciple has nothing in common with the often comical relationship between a super star and his hysterical and adulating fans who obsessively hunt for the smallest gesture or look from the one they adore, a person who is himself/herself so often, very superficial.

Also, the master-disciple relationship is not similar to the relationship between a military commander and his subordinates who are under obligation to blindly execute any orders and are promoted upon their ability to obey without question or hesitation the orders from their superiors.

If we had to pick, as an analogical example, a common human relationship which comes closest to the ideal and profound relationship between a true GURU and a true disciple, the only one would be the relationship between an expert mountain guide and an aspiring climber.

A sincere, devoted and serious spiritual aspirant is just like a climber who wishes to conquer the highest mountain in the world as soon as possible, but currently does not know the best route and does not have enough experience to successfully finish this extraordinary adventure.

If we truly want to conquer the highest mountain top as soon as possible, as beginner climbers we would have several options: we could, for example, make the stupid decision to take on the ascension alone, or we could choose to join a group of more experienced climbers (who are also trying for the first time to get to the top), but in both cases the chances of success would be reduced and the dangers we would face be greater.

Another option could be to use as a guide a book written by a person who already made it to the top but, the book, no matter how well written, would be unable to take into consideration all the factors of success like: our strength, talent, experience as climbers and it would not be able to completely anticipate all the obstacles like: weather changes, modifications that occurred on the landscape, landslides, avalanches, etc.

Finally, the best choice would be to look very carefully and find a real live person who made it to the top and wishes to accompany us and help us if need be all the way. When we search for this expert we should not care for his exterior appearance, the way he dresses, his religion or skin color.

In fact all that matters is if he REALLY REACHED THE TOP of the mountain we are about to climb. He has to know the way and have excellent teaching skills, patience and experience in climbing.

He has to choose a path depending on our qualities: perseverance, vitality, dedication, power, skill, courage etc. but also our defects, a path that best fits our real capacities. He must teach us all that he thinks is necessary to reach our aim quickly and safely.

In spirituality, like in other domains, the presence of an excellent guide who has authentic knowledge and vast experience can greatly help us reduce the time and energy we would waste on useless pursuits.

He could help us eliminate suffering and the possible risk of failure. He would easily lead us to complete success giving us advice on how to utilize our forces most efficiently.

He could even give us a hand when we are in a difficult situation. He would act wisely to help us unlearn our destructive or unhealthy habits which would otherwise hinder us in the future and facilitate the development of those qualities that would help us in our ascension.

All these may seem useless to someone standing at the base of the mountain but they are extremely useful on the way to the top, as the ascension gets more and more difficult.

The beginner climber should take an inner oath not to leave his guide in the middle of the journey; but if, despite better his judgment he did so, he would take upon himself full responsibility and face the huge risks he will stumble upon. Also, the authentic spiritual aspirant must make the same oath - otherwise the master-disciple relationship can never truly work.

Because each GURU or spiritual guide leads his disciple on the path to Self revelation that best matches the disciple's qualities and his experience, it would be a stupid thing to simultaneously take the guidance of more than one GURU - just as a climber could not climb the mountain with different guides and on different routes simultaneously - anyone can see this would be impossible.

An analogy preferred by the yogis is that of an eccentric traveler who wishes to "safely" cross the sea but who has each foot in a different boat.

We cannot say we have a GURU until we are completely sure we found the right person, someone we are willing to follow unconditionally. Then we must be ready to apply his teachings with perseverance and dedication.

Also, we cannot say we are true disciples until we follow with self-abnegation all he asks us to do. Every GURU has both disciples and devotees. The group of devotees includes those that although they are convinced of the authenticity of the master, have very little or no wish to make efforts to walk on the path towards Self realization.

These devotees often have a lack of trust and test their spiritual master and sometimes other masters at the same time, wasting time in their presence, mentally analyzing their behavior, character, teachings, gestures, etc.

The true disciples are only those spiritual aspirants who are firmly engaged on the spiritual path and do not have the need to test their GURU for anything, allowing him to help and support and even test them when necessary.

Once a true master-disciple relationship appears, the authentic spiritual journey towards Self revelation begins immediately, without delay. During this journey both GURU and disciple have to take on serious personal responsibilities.

Just as a mountain guide, the GURU pledges to take care of his disciple all the way, but, as we could never expect the guide to carry the beginner climber on his back, we cannot expect the GURU to make the spiritual journey for his disciple.

The ascension, though it is guided, assisted and even helped by the GURU must still rely on the personal effort of the disciple. The GURU always accompanies his disciple spiritually, energetically and telepathically all the way, step by step giving him/her advice, help and reminding him/her of the right way.

ONLY WHEN THE DISCIPLE IS TRULY PREPARED will the GURU teach the shortcuts and useful techniques/methods to easily surpass all the obstacles, will warn the disciple of the temptations they may face and will remove their doubts and fears with the help of his spiritual powers, huge knowledge and personal experience.

Also, the GURU inspires and guides his disciples through the power of his example, but we must understand that the GURU cannot do the work for his disciples, he cannot carry them "on his back" all the way.

The only exceptions are periodic SPIRITUAL EXEMPLIFICATIONS when we can benefit from his divine grace directly in proportion with our degree of spiritual openness.

Consequently it is entirely our responsibility to continue to walk this path without stopping or detouring, no matter what obstacles, difficulties or how much suffering we are facing.

The GURU does not have the responsibility to pamper us or carry us "on his back", permanently, all the way, because the Divine objective of spiritual ascension is not to become more and more dependent on our GURU but to become more and more independent and self sustained, as we evolve. After the disciple experiences real spiritual evolution, he becomes AUTONOMOUS.

Even though the spiritual guide is selfless and unconditionally looks after his disciples, he is always the one who gives guidance, help and commands and not vice-versa.

A disciple who gets angry because his GURU does not do what he wants or does not satisfy his strange wishes shows monumental ignorance and egoism.

Just as a mountain guide acts, even though always at the service of his student, he always leads the one who hires him, having better knowledge of how to get to the top of the mountain, so does the spiritual guide or GURU.

In conclusion we have to have complete trust in our spiritual guide, his divine power to decide what is best, his wise inspiration and his selfless will to help us - when we deserve his help.

If for one reason or another, in the course of our spiritual journey, we decide to leave our GURU, we have to accept right from the start the RISK of SPIRITUAL STAGNATION or involution, the risk that we might delay our spiritual evolution with millions of years and gradually yield to demonic or even satanic temptations.

What benefits the disciple has from this relationship is obvious, but what is the benefit for the GURU or spiritual guide? From now on, our analogy of the GURU to the expert mountain guide ceases to function.

While the mountain guide offers his services only for financial rewards, the true spiritual guide does not have any need for material or personal gains and because he is a PERFECT BEING he unconditionally and permanently enjoys a state of supreme happiness and fulfillment.

Benefiting from limitless wealth in spirit, which includes an existence in a state of eternal beatitude accessible at will, he will never be tempted to lead us to the supreme knowledge for material or any other kind of rewards.

His only reward is the divine ecstasy he experiences when one of his disciples reached Self realization. Then Gods joy of receiving one of his sons back flows and manifests in the GURU.

The sacred texts show the single reason for which a perfect being, who reached a state of permanent unity with God or Shiva, would later assume the role of guiding us to a state identical to his own, this being the Infinite Love and Divine Compassion of God.

Only love makes it possible for the perfect spiritual guide to exist in this world, otherwise we would never have known such beings capable of showing us the way towards Self liberation.

Only limitless compassion will make the GURU assume the role of spiritually guiding other people towards spiritual liberation.

But what does such a compassionate and loving being expect as a reward for his invaluable help? The only "thing" the GURU permanently expects from us is that in turn we be perfect disciples, so that he can give us his love and guide us with God's help, full of compassion, towards our spiritual liberation as quickly as possible.

After we reach this stage and are equal to our GURU we become ourselves centers of infinite love and compassion and bestow spiritual light on those who deserve it.

Never forget that although MANY feel called towards the goal of Self realization FEW are chosen. Most of them stumble, hesitate, calculate, stagnate, go astray, criticize, allow themselves to be tempted, fall into doubt or let themselves be overcome by egoism.

The CHOSEN ones are the few who are full of love, humbleness, patience, perseverance and finally, perhaps when they least expected or even when they lost hope, they suddenly reach the ABSOLUTE and are united in ecstasy with GOD.

The biggest enemy of the mediocre disciple is himself, in fact, it is his EGO. Don't forget that "WHEN THE EGO GOES OUT, YOGA INSTANTLY COMES IN, AND WHEN THE EGO COMES IN, YOGA INSTANTLY GOES OUT".

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