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  • subhash naik
    Having in view our determined goal and the proper means to achieve it, our next look-out must be to find out the right type of person as our guide, who might
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 23, 2005
      Having in view our determined goal and the proper means to achieve it, our
      next look-out must be to find out the right type of person as our guide, who
      might successfully take us along the path of realization. In all cases (including
      those pertaining to worldly attainments), we stand in need of the help of a
      capable guide. It may, however, be possible that after acquiring some
      knowledge, we may proceed further by our self-effort. But even then we have
      to depend upon the experience of the teachers of the past contained in their
      books and writings. In spirituality the case is otherwise. The need of a Guru or
      Master, grows greater and greater as we go on advancing and securing
      higher stages. Books are of no avail to us in this respect. They may help us to
      acquire superficial knowledge of things to enable us to deliver eloquent
      discourses on spiritual topics and to win arguments, but practical approach in
      spirituality through them alone is impossible. Yogic practices and Sadhanas
      based on knowledge acquired through books, are mostly misleading and
      even harmful to our spiritual advancement. It is only the helping support of a
      capable guide that can take us on up to our destination. It is said of Maulana
      Rumi, a celebrated Persian poet and the author of eighteen books on
      spirituality, that once he approached a great saint to receive spiritual training
      from him. The saint asked him to throw all his books into the river, if he wanted
      to have practical training from him. As this meant to him the loss of his life-
      long labour he did not agree to it. Several times he approached the saint with
      the same request but received the same reply. Finding no other alternative,
      he at last submitted to his demand, threw away all his writings into the water
      and became his disciple. Actual realization comes only after training in the
      realm of practice, and for that, knowledge or erudition proves to be of little

      The help of a Guru or Master is, therefore, essential and indispensable for
      those engaged in spiritual pursuit. There have been cases, however, where
      sages have attained perfection by mere self-effort, surrendering themselves
      direct to God. But such examples are rare. It is really a very difficult course
      and can be followed only by persons, specially gifted with uncommon genius.
      Guru is the connecting link between God and man. It is through his medium
      only that we can reach God. He is the only power that can extricate us from
      the intricacies of the Path. During our spiritual march we have to pass through
      various points, known as Chakras (figuratively called lotuses). They are the
      centres of concentrated energy of the Real Power of Divine force inherited by
      man. They are located in different places within the human frame. The
      intervening space between the two points is characterised as a network
      interwoven by numerous intricate fibres. As we proceed along we have to
      pass through these entanglements of the intervening layers. We have to stay
      there for a considerable time to complete the Bhog. Bhog does not only mean
      undergoing the effect of our past actions but it really means passing through
      the process of unfolding the intricacies of the point which we have already
      arrived at. Our stay at these points for the purpose of Bhog is often very long
      and in most cases it is almost impossible to get out of it by mere self-effort. It
      may, however, be possible at a few preliminary stages but subsequently it
      becomes quite impracticable. It has been observed that most of the sages of
      the past who had tried it by self-effort only, remained lingering for whole life
      on the very first or the second stage and could not cross it. The fact is that at
      somewhat advanced stages we have to face what may be expressed as the
      slippery condition of the place. There we may sometimes go up a little but
      soon slip down again. The same thing happens again and again with the
      result that higher ascent becomes arduous and well-nigh impracticable.
      Under the circumstances it is only a forceful push by the worthy Master that
      can bring us out of the whirlpool. If the Master is not lacking in power and
      capacity, he will by his own force, push the disciple up out of the
      entanglement and place him on the next higher stage. It is, therefore,
      essential that the guide we select must be one of the highest calibre and
      worthy of the task of tearing off the intricacies at a glance with the aid of the
      extraordinary power at his command. It can only be one who has himself
      attained perfection or complete negation of self. Hence we must connect
      ourselves with such a great power by feelings of love and attraction. It does
      not matter much what conception of him we entertain in our mind. We may call
      him our friend, Master, servant or whatever we might be pleased to choose.
      But he remains after all our guide or Guru, as he is commonly called.

      Unfortunately, today, the selection of the proper guide is much neglected,
      although every religious-minded Hindu believes that it is incumbent upon him
      to have a Guru in order to satisfy his craving for spiritual benefit. Generally
      people select any one for the purpose without any regard to his capabilities or
      worth. They are induced to do so mostly by persuasion or by miracles
      displayed by those so-called Gurus to attract the ignorant masses. The
      disciple-hunters are not wanting. They are as numerous as the leaves of a
      tree, for to most of them Gurudom is a very profitable job, which can secure
      enormous income which they cannot otherwise earn. Besides they command
      highest respect and personal service from their disciples. The ignorant
      masses thus fall a ready prey to these self-seeking professionals. A petty
      miracle or an ordinary display of something charming or attractive, is enough
      to attract hundreds of these silly sheep to their fold of Gurudom. A simple
      threat to pronounce curse upon one who happens to displease them, may
      bring thousands into their abject submission. Not only this but in order to
      ensure monopoly of their profession they declare that none but one belonging
      to the privileged class has the right of being a Guru, whether he may be a
      Sannyasin or a householder. They claim to be world teachers of religion by
      birth, irrespective of their capability and worth. Sannyasins, too, you will find
      these days in multitude posing as Mahatmas and professing to be Jagat
      Gurus (world teachers). Is it not a pity to find such professional imposters, who
      are a shame to the nation and the religion, roaming about with complete
      impunity to cheat and defraud the ignorant people, in order to serve their own
      selfish ends?

      It is high time for the masses to open their eyes and see what havoc has been
      wrought by them. Gurudom as a monopoly of a privileged class is only an
      absurdity, introduced by the professional Gurus to safeguard their personal
      interests. The popularly believed principle that a disciple can never break off
      the sacred connection with his Guru under any circumstances, is also a
      cunning device adopted by those false Gurus to make their position safe and
      secure and is nothing but a fraud. The practice of initiating a disciple (though
      really based on sound principle) has been much abused by most of the
      modern professionals who do not understand its real significance. Their only
      function as a Guru is to breathe a few mystical words into the ear of the
      disciple at the time of initiation and tell him to follow certain ceremonial
      practices by way of worship. Their duty to the disciple ends with it and nothing
      remains for them to do for the betterment of the disciple except to give him
      their Darshan every year and get their annual tribute from him. Really a
      disciple should formally be initiated only when true faith exists in him and
      Divine love takes prime root in his heart. Initiation signifies that the disciple's
      link has been connected with the Supreme Power. In that case the spiritual
      force begins to flow to the disciple automatically according to the absorbing
      capacity he develops in himself. It depends much upon the power and
      capability of the Master to establish a sound connection for which high calibre
      is needed. A sound connection once established shall continue as long as
      the disciple does not secure liberation which in such cases is not a far off
      matter to be attained after numerous lives. In fact if a disciple is initiated in the
      right sense as mentioned above by a Guru of high calibre the question of
      breaking off from him can never arise. But, for the professional Gurus who
      perform mock initiations to serve their purpose, it is a matter of constant
      anxiety. Therefore, in order to keep a disciple permanently in their grip, they
      proclaim it as a Divine dictate that he shall be courting all the miseries of the
      hell if he ever thought of breaking off from them at any time. The ignorant
      masses accept it as the gospel truth, trembling at the very idea of doing
      anything which might displease their Guru. So they always try to put up with
      all their atrocities in passive submission. I am sure, there is not the slightest
      suggestion to this effect found in our Shastras. It is only an ingenuity on the
      part of these teachers of religion. I hold it to be the birth right of every man to
      break off from his Guru at any time if he finds that he had made a wrong
      selection or had misjudged the Guru's capacity or worth. He is also free to
      seek another Guru if at any stage he finds that his Guru has not the capacity to
      take him beyond what he has already acquired. On the other hand a
      conscientious Guru must himself, under the circumstances, direct his disciple
      to seek another, more advanced and better qualified, so that the disciple may
      not in any way suffer progress. This is the sacred duty of a true and selfless
      Guru. If, however, permission to break off, sought for by the disciple, is denied
      by the Guru on account of his selfish motives, the disciple is at liberty to break
      off from him at once and seek another. No moral or religious law ever forbids
      him from doing so.

      A little advanced among the class of Gurus are considered to be those who
      teach and preach on the basis of their knowledge of the Shastras and other
      holy books. They have established orders and Ashrams where they enjoy a
      kingly position among their followers. They go out and address large
      audiences telling them what to do and what not to do and explaining to them
      problems concerning Maya, Jiva and Brahma. People flock to them in
      thousands to hear their sermons admiring their high ideas and extensive
      knowledge and regard them as great Mahatmas or saints. They ask them
      numerous intricate questions and if they are able to answer them out of their
      stock of the knowledge of Shastras their greatness as Mahatma is established
      in their minds and they are induced to accept them as Gurus. But really they
      have, thus, put to test their learning and not the real worth. It must well be
      borne in mind that it is not learning or knowledge that makes a man perfect
      but it is only realization in the right sense that makes a true Yogi or saint. It is
      just possible that the man who has thus impressed you with his outward form,
      learning or eloquence, may be at the lowest level as regards practical
      attainments. Knowledge, therefore, is no criterion of a true Mahatma or Yogi.
      Similarly the real test of a Mahatma or Guru is not his miracles or his
      extraordinary ways and manners but only his practical attainments on the
      path of realization. The popular meaning of a Mahatma as a great
      individuality does not seem appealing to me. I would define a Mahatma as the
      most insignificant being or rather a neglected figure, beyond all feelings of
      greatness, pride or egoism, dwelling permanently in a state of complete self-
      negation. There are some who hold the view that knowledge being the
      preliminary stage of realization is essential and indispensable.

      I do not agree with them on the ground that knowledge is only an
      achievement of brain whereas realization is the awakening of soul and hence
      far beyond its scope. In books on spiritual science we read much about the
      conditions of mind at various spiritual stages and get acquainted with them
      but as regards practical attainments we are far away from them. We can talk to
      people about those conditions, advance arguments for and against them and
      establish our superiority in learning but inwardly we are quite ignorant of
      them. We attend lectures and hear sermons on Gita, we recite portions from
      Gita regularly every day, we read commentaries on it written by great men of
      learning but what practical effect is thereby produced upon us? Has any one
      of us been ever able to acquire practically any one of the conditions depicted
      in it? They may, however, repeat the words "World is Maya, Man is Brahma"
      and so on, but inwardly they are quite unconscious of what they speak in
      words. None has ever been able to develop the conditions, discussed therein,
      just as Arjuna did when he heard it from Lord Krishna. Gita as we have it
      today is really a commentary on what Lord Krishna spoke to Arjuna on the
      eve of the battle of Mahabharat. Lord Krishna had actually transmitted the
      very conditions, explained by words of mouth into the heart of Arjuna with the
      result that Arjuna was literally feeling the same condition prevailing all over,
      both within and without. Thus it was, that every word which he heard
      descended right into his heart producing a permanent effect. The cause of
      failure of modern teachers and preachers of Gita to produce the desired effect
      upon the mind of the hearers is their lack of power to transmit those
      conditions. The various conditions of mind discussed in the Gita are really the
      different stages which a man comes across during his march on the path of
      spirituality. They develop automatically from within. Formal means adopted to
      acquire a particular state of mind at a premature stage increases internal
      grossness which is detrimental to our progress.

      A real teacher is not one who can explain to us the soundness of the religious
      dogmas or who can prescribe to us do's and don'ts. Almost every one of us
      knows enough of it. What we stand in need of, from a Guru is the true impulse
      to effect the awakening of the soul and his direct support in the course of our
      further march on the path of realization. Such a man we have to seek for, if we
      aim at success. It is, therefore, evident that while judging a man for our
      spiritual guide we must take into account not his learning or miracles but his
      practical achievements in the field of realization. A man who is himself free
      can free you from eternal bondage. If your Guru is not free from the bondages
      of Samskaras, Maya or Ahankar it is not possible for him to free you from
      those bondages. Suppose you are bound to one pole and your Guru to
      another, how is it possible for your Guru to free you from the bondage? Only a
      man who is himself free can release you from the bondage. People have, in
      most cases, gone astray for this very reason as they have submitted
      themselves to the guidance of such unworthy teachers, whose primary motive
      is perhaps mere self-aggrandisement or some personal gain. With this view in
      mind they are generally found to be eager to maintain their position and
      prestige by false impositions. To them it is probably the greatest shock to their
      pride of power and position, to acknowledge the superiority of anyone more
      advanced or better accomplished. This is nothing but Ahankar in the crudest
      form. If you submit yourself to such a Guru, you are sure to inherit the same
      feeling of pride which is the worst type of grossness and is sure to hamper
      your spiritual advancement. Liberation is never possible so long as this evil
      exists. Spirituality is in fact such a superfine state of mind that every other
      thing will seem to be heavier or grosser in comparison to it. The delicate
      feeling caused on the senses by the sweet smell of a rose is far heavier. I may
      express it as a state of perfect tranquillity and moderation, in complete
      harmony with nature. In this state of mind all senses and faculties are so to
      say, in a sleeping (or dormant) state. Their working becomes automatic,
      bearing no impression upon the mind. Perfect peace is one of its high stages,
      although the real thing is still onwards, when even the consciousness of
      peace fails. For the consciousness of peace, too, causes some weight upon
      the mind, though it is very insignificant. When we are really quite unconscious
      of the very presence of peace, we are in true sense free from the impression
      or the weight of the feeling. The condition at this stage is peculiar. It is really
      neither Anandam (Bliss) nor otherwise. Words fail to express the real
      condition of this stage. Such is the condition we have finally to achieve for
      which he and he alone can be capable Guru, who is permanently abiding in
      the condition described above, and has the power and capacity to transmit by
      his will force the spiritual state into the heart of the Abhyasi and to remove
      complexities and obstructions therefrom. None below this level is fit to impart
      spiritual training to others.

      It is a matter of greatest regret and pity that this age-old process of Yogic
      transmission originated and widely practised by our ancient sages has now
      gone into complete oblivion in the very land of its origin, where today, only but
      a few might feel inclined to believe it even. Some people try to ridicule it by
      misinterpreting it as nothing but mesmerism or hypnotism. I have explained
      this point in my book Efficacy of Raja Yoga. Here I may assure you that
      spiritual training for the attainment of higher stages is only possible by the
      process of Yogic transmission and by no other means. Frequent reference to
      this process, in the present society of educated persons, has led certain
      religious teachers, today, to defend their inefficiency in this respect by
      explaining to the people that there is nothing peculiar about transmission. It
      generally happens, when you are in the company of a Mahatma or a saint,
      that you are to some extent relieved of your disturbing thoughts and feel
      comparatively calm for a while. This they claim to be due to the effect of
      transmission by the Mahatma. Those who offer this explanation, mean only to
      deceive the public with a view to white-wash their incapacity. What they
      interpret as transmission is really the automatic radiation of the pious
      Paramanus (fine particles) from the Mahatma. It affects all those assembled
      there with the result that calmness prevails to some extent so long as they are
      there. It is only a natural process and has nothing to do with transmission. It is
      not only from a Mahatma or saint that such Paramanus (fine particles) radiate
      but also from everyone whether pious or wicked, saintly or devilish. If you are
      for some time with an impious or morally degraded person you find similar
      impious Paramanus radiating from him and affecting you, with the result that
      you find your thoughts flowing in the same channel for the time being. The
      effect of such radiation remains only for a little while and disappears when
      you are away from it. This is the reason why often religious teachers are found
      to be making complaints of the indifference of the people to follow what they
      preach to them. They say that people, when they go back after hearing their
      Upadesh (sermons) cast off all they have heard then and there retaining
      nothing of it in their mind. I think it is not the people but the teacher or the
      Upadeshak (Preacher) who is really to be blamed for it, for he has not the
      capacity or power to transmit what he means to preach from the platform.
      Similar views are expressed in connection with Sankirtan performances. The
      peaceful atmosphere created on such occasions is claimed to be due to the
      effect of transmission. It is really the result of vibrations produced by the sound
      of singing in a chorus. We experience the same thing at all music parties
      which we attend. On such occasions our mind is mostly focussed on one and
      the same thing which is in our view, and we are, for the time being, unmindful
      of other things. In Sankirtan, as our thoughts are located on some pious ideal
      we begin to feel the same thing in our heart automatically. It has nothing to do
      with transmission. Power of transmission is a Yogic attainment of a very high
      order by which a Yogi can infuse by his own will force, the Yogic energy or
      Godly effulgence within any one and remove anything unwanted in him or
      detrimental to his spiritual progress. He can exercise this power not only on
      those assembled around him but on those, too, who are away from him. The
      power can be utilized in any way at any time. One who has got command over
      this power can, at a glance, create temporarily or permanently, a condition of
      the mind which is far ahead of the existing condition of the mind of an Abhyasi
      and which otherwise will require a life time to be achieved. It is not only a vain
      assertion but a bare fact and may at any time be practically verified by anyone
      who pleases to do so. Sages have often, through power of transmission
      changed the entire nature of a man at a mere glance. The wonderful
      examples of the great sages like my Master, Samartha Guru Shri Ram
      Chandraji Maharaj of Fatehgarh, Swami Vivekananda and others offer ample
      proof of it.

      The solution of the problem as to what sort of man should be selected as a
      guide or Guru is not difficult to seek. When our eyes are fixed on the final goal
      we can never be satisfied with any one who appears to be short of mark.
      Every saint or Yogi has got his own level of attainment and of self-elevation. If
      we attach ourselves with any one of them with faith and devotion and secure
      merging with his highest condition, we will ourselves attain corresponding
      elevation. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary to select one, of the highest
      attainments as our Guru. If unfortunately we are somehow or other induced to
      select one of inferior attainments we will correspondingly be lagging behind
      in our final approach. Ordinarily a spiritual teacher should never consider
      himself fit for training others, unless he has secured his approach up to
      Brahmand Mandal at least (also known as Virat Desh) where everything
      appears in the subtle form, before it actually takes place in this material world.
      When a teacher has connected himself with that plane or sphere, he is
      constantly in touch with the inexhaustible storehouse of power. On the other
      hand if a man takes up the job of training others in spirituality before acquiring
      this stage, he not only begins to lose his own power but is contaminated with
      the Samskaras and grossness of those under his training, with the result that
      very soon he himself gets spoiled. In our mission permission to impart training
      is not generally granted at this stage even. Really a man is fit for the work of
      training only when he does not entertain in his heart the slightest impression
      of being a teacher or Guru. I believe that if the idea of being a Guru crosses
      his mind even once in life he becomes unworthy of being a Guru for all his
      life. The very presence of this idea shows that he cherishes in his heart a
      feeling of self-importance or greatness. The consciousness of being a Master,
      if maintained, soon develops into pride, the crudest form of Ahankar, and
      consequently into its resultant defects, which are the worst drawbacks in a
      Guru. It is, therefore, essential for a man to get rid of these evils before he
      comes out into the field as a Guru. God is the real Guru or Master and we get
      Light from Him alone. But as it is extremely difficult for a man of ordinary
      talents to draw inspiration from God direct, we seek the help of one of our
      fellow beings who has established his connection with the Almighty. It is thus
      quite evident that if a man comes out as a Guru or Master he has usurped the
      position really due to God and as such it is nothing but mere blasphemy. He
      must, therefore, treat himself as the humblest servant of God, serving
      humanity in the name of the great Master. There will thus be no room for
      Ahankar and for its resultant evils which are unfortunately too common
      nowadays. Reality is totally absent where these evils prevail. A Guru or
      teacher must, therefore, banish from his heart even the slightest feeling of
      greatness and superiority and consider himself as the humblest associate or
      a servant of humanity. My Master of revered memory was an example. All
      through his life he treated his associates as brethren. The idea that they were
      his disciples never once crossed his mind. He was ever ready to offer
      personal services even to his disciples and very often he did it without letting
      it come to their knowledge. I think and feel it as an essential thing for a Guru to
      give up his masterly position and feel himself an ordinary servant of humanity.
      His claim for personal service from the disciples has no justification except in
      cases of dire necessity and that too only to an extent to which he himself is
      prepared to render to his disciples. Most of the so-called Gurus nowadays
      encourage the practice, because it offers them personal comfort and feeds
      their vanity. They say that by touching the feet of Guru, or by massaging his
      limbs the magnetic currents pass on from the Guru to the disciple which helps
      the disciple to form pious Samskaras. Thus by this practice the disciple draws
      in much of purity and piety from his master. It may be true, but let me question
      them for a while whether the same thing is not possible if the Guru renders the
      same service to his disciple. I think none can dare deny it. Evidently then the
      motive at the back is nothing but personal comfort and ease. In my humble
      opinion the process should now be reversed in accordance with the need of
      the time and the Guru should himself render such services to his disciples.
      Really the position of Guru is very strange. If he feels himself as a Master and
      hence far above his associates, it will be an Ahankar of the worst type in a
      Guru. It is really the look-out of the disciple to devote himself to the service of
      his Guru with love and devotion and not the right or privilege of the Guru to
      demand it. I am reminded of an instance. A simpleton once approached one
      of such prevalent type of Gurus and offered to become his disciple. The Guru,
      delighted at the prospect of one more addition to his fold of Gurudom, began
      to teach him the duties of a disciple. "You should," he said, "be in complete
      submission to your Guru, attending all the time to his personal needs and
      services. You should prostrate before him every morning and evening and go
      to bed after the Guru is asleep and get up before he wakes." The poor fellow
      finding himself incapable of doing all this, innocently questioned: "What will
      be the result if I failed to act in strict accordance?" "You will be turned out and
      doomed" was the firm reply. "Then, Sir," he added politely, "It shall be very
      kind of you, if you accept me as a Guru." We often come across instances of
      jealousies and frictions between a Guru and his disciple. What is all this due
      to? It is only on account of selfish interest or personal gain. A Guru must,
      therefore, necessarily be quite devoid of any personal motive or selfish
      interest. He must be totally free from all feelings of pride or greatness. He
      must be a selfless man and a true servant of humanity at large, teaching
      people out of pure love without any ulterior selfish motive of name, fame or
      money. He must have his access up to the farthest possible limit and must
      have the power of Yogic transmission. Such a man we must seek for, as our
      guide if we want complete success. It is better to remain without a Guru all the
      life than to submit to the guidance of an unworthy Guru.
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