A real Guru-shishya relationship is one where the Guru imparts knowledge, not only knowledge, he shares whatever he has in his mind and heart with the disciple so much so, his intention and the disciple’s intention also should be to become like the Guru.
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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
We have four kinds of relationship. One is the blood relationship with which we are born. Then if the person gets married, he will have a matrimonial relationship, again leading to the birth of children, blood relationship. In addition to these two, there is something that everybody needs, some friends. So, friendship is another relationship. But there is a relationship which is super-best and mutual and rewarding and fulfilling. That is that Guru-shishya relationship. Shankara puts it this way.
A real Guru-shishya relationship is one where the Guru imparts knowledge, not only knowledge, he shares whatever he has in his mind and heart with the disciple so much so, his intention and the disciple’s intention also should be to become like the Guru. In every Guru parampara, you will find the Guru sheds his body, a disciple takes his position, he functions as a Guru, another disciple comes. So, the Guru makes the shishya alike himself. Svīyaṃ sāmyaṃ vidhatte. He imparts to him, instills and infuses into him, a kind of likeness with himself. This is something very great.
In any branch of learning, nobody can learn any subject whatsoever all by himself. Can we make an alphabet and start writing and learning? Can we build a school and become a teacher and then learn from ourselves? In any walk of life, knowledge is always gained from our elders who have lived earlier to us. So far as the spiritual subject is concerned, it is unlike all other subjects. All other subjects are objective and object based. You can call another and then say “Here is a flower. Look.” Both of them have parallel, similar eyes and the object remains the same. So, they can look at the flower and find it to be equally fragrant and the color also will be the same for both the eyes. Suppose there is change of color, some defect is there in one’s eyes. But when it comes to spirituality, what is this spirituality? One has to understand it. Spirituality is the source of everything. I am speaking to you. The words are very audible, they are produced by the mouth, by the tongue, by the teeth, by the gums, by the upper portion, by the throat. Wherefrom do I get my ideas to speak and at what point of time, the idea is transformed into sound? I myself do not, may be doctors know. Because that conversion takes place in the biological body, the sphere of matter. So, they will be able to say.
But what is that mystic process whereby ideas are evolved and they are transmitted to the vocal system? That is within the body. At one point, it is a supra-material, mystic or miraculous development. The formation of ideas, transmission of them, their transmission to the vocal system. Once it comes to the vocal system, it is all objective. We can understand it.
So, the entire spirituality deals with the presence and the power that is within the body which animates the body, activates the organs and does all kinds of activity and interaction. Everybody has it. Why is it that nobody knows about it? You should know, the self first and then alone the body and the rest. In the process of understanding or experience, the experiencer comes first, then only the question of experienced. He thinks that, there are some items to be experienced. Unless the thinker and the experiencer are first there, where is the question of thinking and as a result producing thoughts, experiencing, as a result of having experience and knowledge?
So, it is a causal and a source level. I generally would like to use, very rarely I use it, there are two words, one is called phenomenon, another is called noumenon. We always speak about the phenomenon and phenomena. But nobody speaks about the noumenon. There, there is no plural. Phenomenon has got a plural. What is that? What makes you say here are the visible phenomena? What makes the eyes see? What makes the mind think? What makes the intelligence intellect? What makes the ego assert or coordinate matters? So that source question, causal question, that question takes you within the body but above matter and energy. So, the whole objectivity stands terminated when you take up the spiritual wisdom.
Everybody says ‘I’, ‘I was’, ‘I am’, ‘I shall be’. We are relating the ‘I’ to the past, to the present and the future. Everybody uses the ‘I’ and does everything in the waking state. But nobody thinks about what is this ‘I’? So, it is stark basic ignorance and delusion that are working in every one. Now, how to get this delusion undone? So, you have to be de-deluded, de deluded. So one ‘X’ was telling me, “Swamiji, will a person know that he is deluded? When he is deluded?” He may not know. So how to get rid of it? That is where a teacher become necessary. Nobody knows that he or she is deluded. So, the delusion has to be pointed out and then a de-delusion will have to take place. It cannot be done by oneself because he will not know his delusion.
I had a very strange experience. I don’t know whether I should talk about it. See, an ascetic person living in an Ashram happened to say to one of the inmates or generally also, “If you don’t like to stay in this Ashram, the gates are wide open, you can just walk off.” I told the person “What is it that you are speaking? We may discuss the subject between ourselves. But can you tell anybody point blank that the doors are open, if you don’t like, simply go. We have not invited you here.” Is this the way that anybody should speak to another? Whatever I may say, that person was saying that “I am not able to understand. What I said is correct. Is it not a fact if we can speak something like this between ourselves, then we can also speak to that person?” Months and years passed. Always that person continues to say that “What is the harm in my saying? It is the right way to say. I am not able to think that it is improper or discourteous.” Now what do you do about such a person? Tell me.
Whenever we point out to people about the position of the ‘I’, the unchanging ‘I’, the changeless ‘I’, and the ‘I’ becoming superior to everything else, some people will say, “Swamiji, it is right, I understand it when you explain.” And they follow it saying, “Intellectually I understand it but I don’t go further about it.” If you have intellectually understood something, should you not follow the understanding? That they are not able to do. Because in the other matters, the progress is visible, you can compare notes, ask people etc. But here the journey is within. The journey is within. Within your body is an infinitude. When I explain it, people, will say “Oh, yes, yes, there is infinitude.” They will also answer.
If you have an infinitude within yourself, should you not try to be in tune with it? Why don’t you try to be in tune with it? Get rid of all the feelings of poverty, smallness, all the feelings of weakness, I ask them, a rich man’s son, "Will he ever lack riches and money? No. So, you are a son of God or daughter of God. So, will you not become godly? In that case, why do you become worldly and beg from the world?"
“Ah! It is right. Swamiji I understand it when you say, but I am not able to go further, I have to realize it.” Realize it yourself. “No, I am not able to.” So, this kind of a helplessness is there because it is not a visible object area.
Another important factor is, we have to explain the subject dimensions and the subject presence but using always object vocabulary. Because we do not have any vocabulary other than object vocabulary. And how to use an object vocabulary to explain something different from the object? That is why our words prove inadequate.
From where words recoil, along with the mind, unable to reach and penetrate. So, it is a state where mind cannot reach, intelligence cannot reach, ego cannot reach, nothing external will be able to reach. Yet such a presence is there and that is the source of everything. So, who will explain it? Only one who has an experience of it will be able to explain it. So, the Guru-shishya relationship, this is so far a spiritual knowledge is concerned.
Otherwise what is this Guru-shishya relationship? If you feel that “I must surrender everything before the Guru”, you may not be able to do it. Don’t worry about it. You can say “I would like to surrender.” What is this surrender after all? Is it not one of harmony and attunement? It is a kind of relationship or bhāva in your mind by virtue of which you are able to receive whatever the Guru gives. And the Guru feels like giving you more and more, more and more, more and more.
What is that attitude by virtue of which you will become trustworthy to the Guru? In our puranas you will find, many shishyas were refused by the Guru. You know why? They were imparting a dangerous knowledge, which once imparted cannot be taken back. Suppose the person uses it indiscreetly, then what is the safeguard? There is no safeguard. So, he has his own estimation, selection about the one to whom he will disclose the most dangerous knowledge or most powerful knowledge. So, to become a trustworthy person, so it requires a lot of inward, open exchanges.
A shishya may be in in some walks of life, sufficiently learned and far more informed than the Guru. There are some people who seek advice from me, sometimes with regard to profession etc. So, when it comes to a question of important area, I will say, “This is an area where why don’t you discuss matters with some experienced people and elders? If you give me some information, I may be able to help you to have a decision.” And does the Guru impose upon the disciple a decision? I think no real Guru will ever impose. The Guru may discuss matters with the shishya and arrive at a position where the shishya will be able to understand and decide what is right. There is no imposition at all.
After the 700-verse dialogue was over, Krishna was telling Arjuna, “Did you hear all that I said? Did you understand? Think critically about the messages I gave.” And finally यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु ||”
“Whatever you feel like you doing, you do”. Krishna doesn’t say “Do that. Do that.” He has used such words earlier, tasmād-yudhyasva bhārata etc. That is because, this being the knowledge, this being the truth, you require to fight, not you require to retreat. But finally, the subject was wider and wider and a comprehensive discussion took place. At the end of which He says, “Have you heard? Have you understood? Then critically analyze and examine and evaluate the whole message and यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु || As you desire, so you act.”
Now this is the type of Guru-shishya relationship. It is a great fortune for anybody to get into this area and have such a relationship. But not many are fortunate. Any knowledge, how can you have yourself the knowledge? That is not possible at all. And you have to reach a destination, you don’t know where it is. Somebody who knows it, you meet him. You ask him how to go. “Should I ask? Should I ask?” Is there any doubt? You ask and then you proceed so that you are safer and fast. It is such a simple affair. I would like you not to complicate it in any manner. Such a beautiful relationship! Very nice. Strengthening too.
After all, what is this surrender? Surrender itself is a great secret. Surrender is the great purushartham. They say, fourth purushartha is moksha. And surrender is called, saranagati is called the fifth purushartha. I think our Gurudev has written in Bengali on Panchama Purushartha, the fifth purushartha called saranagati. I have not been able to read what he has written because it is in Bengali. But I think Nutan Swamiji and Mā might have had access to it.
So, understand the matters quite well. We are going to a Guru. What for? To grow, to mend our errors, to incorporate more and more dimensions into you. You may not know many qualities and enrichments, the moment you know from your Guru, you try to incorporate them, incorporate them, incorporate them. That is the way and it is the most harmonious relationship.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.