Which type of devotional service do you prefer?
A Guru is a personality, a representative of the Supreme Lord, who is capable of driving out grief and infatuation of all sorts from the heart of his disciples. But there are some conditions for the flowering of such auspiciousness in the life of the disciple. Grace depends more on the position of the disciple than on the quality of the Guru. If a disciple has thorough qualities, if he is a vessel for receiving Grace, only then can the work of the Guru have any effect on the disciple. If one were to receive milk in a vessel full of leakages or holes, how can milk stay in such a vessel? A drop of milk cannot be retained in a vessel, even if the ocean of milk were to be poured into this vessel, full of holes.
There are many types of disciples. There are some qualities that are expected out of a disciple. Only a disciple who has the required qualifications shall attain the teachings of the Guru. On the other hand, even if the Guru is not competent but the disciple has the required qualifications, Grace shall yet dawn on such a disciple and flood him with all spiritual qualities. In such cases where the disciple has qualities as expected by the Shastras, Providence automatically shall displace a false-Guru and handover a truly enlightened Master by natural arrangement to the deserving disciple. More than a Guru, it is the disciple, who is expected to adorn great qualities. The rest, Providence shall arrange for. It is said that there are many enlightened Masters who abound the planet, but it is very difficult to find a true seeker, a true individual who is interested in taking a humble position ready to empty himself and offer his heart to the Guru. This is the problem in today’s world.
There are many categories or shades of disciples who come in many sizes. The disciple who after, receiving instructions from the Guru depends on self-effort, centered in the ego or looks towards other sources of help, a slave to the diktat of the mind, driven by unnecessary variety can never derive benefits from the Grace of the Guru. There are other disciples who take to the mode of questioning or showing undue curiosity in order to keep the Guru busy. Such disciples are interested in hogging attention alone. These people suck the spirit out of spirituality with their behaviour and their tendency of wasting the Guru’s time. Whatever the Guru answers falls on deaf ears and nothing gets to the heart of these pseudo-seekers. There is another lot of disciples who feel that they maintain the Guru with their money. They show off their money power by buying things in a lavish manner for the Guru or his institution, to attract the attention of their Guru. They feel somewhere that the Guru is surviving because of their wealth-power. In these cases, even the Gurus are responsible for encouraging this overarching behaviour of their disciples. The Guru fails to correct such disciples and hence the relationship continues in a way, that at the end of the day, is a materialistic relationship where spirituality goes out of the window.
There is another category of disciples, where they become yes-men of Gurus. The Guru also gets influenced by the so-called docile behaviour of the disciple. However even such Guru Disciple relationships are driven by ego-massaging intentions and hence this can never be a true relationship based on Truth. There is yet another category of disciples who are liked by their Gurus and become the favourite of their Gurus in so many ways. These disciples are power-hungry. They take undue advantage of their closeness to the Guru to dominate others who are trying to get access to the Guru. This is a ridiculous disciple, who has forgotten all about his spiritual goals and now seems to be content, involved with the politics around his master. He is now training himself in power-play. He is interested in being recognised as the heir-apparent of the Guru. These individuals have failed in material life and now have taken up spirituality as a means to continue from where they left off in material life.
They say that disciples should surrender to Guru. It is important that disciples should seek and ask the right questions. The disciple should be a Truth seeker and should be driven by the goal of becoming a Truth seeker and nothing else. He should not have any secondary intentions. Only such an intention can propel sadhana or spiritual practice. Unless the disciple who is guided somewhat, by his noble intentions a true Guru-disciple relationship can never blossom. There are many other malicious aspects that can derail one’s intentions of developing into a Truth seeker. Most of the institutions pay seekers, Gurus and disciples, to run their organisations. Such practices will derail Truth seeking completely. When money takes precedence over spiritual pursuance, spirituality shall eventually take a backseat. There is no doubt about this.
A true seeker is one who becomes the disciple of Truth. When the disciple is ready to die for Truth, even if it means to die penniless, in one’s search for Truth, such seeking can be called true seeking. The Lord is on the lookout for such committed souls. All other arrangements of Guru-shishya or teacher-disciple is hog wash. A seeker of Truth can never participate in seeking, as a part-time objective. It has never been the case with our sages of the bygone years, nor shall it be the case for the sages who are yet to make their appearance. A Truth seeker can have only one objective and that is Truth. This Truth is also known as the Supreme Being, The Lord. If one is chit-chatting about spirituality, it should be clear that he cannot be a seeker and he is only seeking newer avenues of satisfying his ego. The path of spirituality is to annihilate the ego, even if it means to finish oneself in such pursuits. A disciple is one who is consumed by the fire of seeking. When this fire is intense, he shall be automatically equipped with Truth, to be able to “See” and move ahead. Such a seeker of Truth shall find the right Guru. If this does not happen, the Supreme Lord shall appear directly before such a sincere soul and present Himself as the Guru.
When someone is committed to Truth and Truth alone, then by the Will of the Lord one is selected by Him, to guide other people. A True Guru never assumes position but sets high standards by setting an example. This example he does not set for the world, but for himself. In that process, he is recognised without his intent, by the world, by the will of the Supreme Lord, as a Guru
One gets connected to the Guru through the desire to get liberated from bondage. The greater the desire to get liberated, the more the intensity, the faster will a true Guru get connected to you
Yes , Guru is only required if you are serious about spirituality. Otherwise the normal materialistic teachers who are also Gurus can help us with our normal survival skills.
A Guru Parampara may well be needed. If one is looking at spirituality as the most important aspect the living process, a genuine Guru Parampara may be required so that one is “trained” to be committed and sincere in one’s intentions and spiritual progress. A Guru Parampara usually has good Gurus who have been practising the Vedic system as enunciated by their predecessors.