RELATIONSHIP WITH GURU
Guru is not a person, but guru can be represented in a person. One
who has developed his or her own spiritual awareness to a very high
level can guide others, and is considered to be guru. Only one who is
finely attuned to the inner guide can inspire the awakening of the
inner guide in another. Guru is not a physical being. If a guru
begins thinking this power is her or his own, then they are no longer
a guide. The guru is a tradition, a stream of knowledge.
In India guru is a sacred word that is used with reverence and is
always associated with the highest wisdom. The guru is unique in a
person's life. The relationship between disciple and guru is like no
other relationship. It is said that guru is not mother, father, son,
or daughter. The guru is not a friend in any conventional sense. It
also is sometimes said that the guru is father, mother, son,
daughter, and friend all in one; the guru is sun and moon, sky and
earth to the disciple.
The truth is that the relationship of guru to disciple is
indescribable. The relationship extends to the realm beyond the
world, transcends death, and stretches far beyond the limited karmic
bonds associated with family and friends. A mother and father help
sustain the body of their child, and nurture and guide the child
through the formative years of life to adulthood. Guru sustains,
nurtures, and guides a soul through lifetimes to ultimate liberation.
The relationship with the guru is based on the purest form of
unconditional love. There is complete openness with the guru. The
disciple should hold nothing back from the guru. This is why in the
tradition, a student goes to the guru and offers a bundle of sticks
to burn. The bundle symbolizes that everything the disciple has is
offered unconditionally to the guru. Everything is offered to the
guru so the guru can do the work of shaping the student spiritually.
The disciple comes with full faith and entrusts his whole life to the
guru. The guru takes that life and chops it and burns what is not
necessary, and then carefully carves what remains into something
In this chopping and burning, the guru is merciless. The guru's job
is not to hold hands with the disciple and wipe away tears, but to
cut into pieces the disciple's ego and all that stands between the
disciple and freedom. The guru does not allow dependence. If the
disciple becomes too dependent on the guru, the guru pushes the
disciple away, insisting on independence. It is a remarkable
expression of the deepest love.