Negativity Towards Guru

Here, Swamiji explains what a disciple must do if he loses faith in his guru. Faith is the wealth of the disciple and if it is lost his spiritual life is jeopardized. Taped at the Zinal Conference, Switzerland in September 1981.

A disciple lives by faith. If the behaviour of his guru has broken his faith, then the disciple has lost everything. Once the faith is destroyed, it is very difficult to mend it. I know that as a man, guru is incomplete in some respect or another, but at the same time, a disciple cannot completely relinquish his own responsibilities. When he chose his guru, was he right or was he wrong? Now, under certain circumstances which are not pleasing to the disciple, he sees some sort of fault which may or may not be in his guru.

At this point, he should immediately approach his guru and tell him what is going on in his mind. He should compel his guru to understand his point. There is no use running away from the guru convinced that he is bad and spreading vicious stories about him. If a frank and open dialogue takes place between the guru and disciple, many complications can be thrashed out.

Sometimes the disagreement can be smoothed out and the relationship mended. However, if it cannot be settled, then the disciple should ask his guru what to do. If the guru has realized his mistake, he should also realize his responsibility. He must know that he is no longer in a position to handle this disciple. If he is sincere he will be frank and tell the disciple that he can no longer be responsible for his spiritual welfare and that he should now seek another guru. He may even suggest the right guru.

If the guru has not made any mistake and the whole incident has arisen because of a misunderstanding, then the guru must have the capacity to convince his disciple that he has misunderstood him. However, if the guru is arrogant and insists that he is right although he is wrong, then the disciple must again start his journey afresh and search for a new guru. At this juncture it is important that the disciple does not react. Most do, and they cultivate the belief that a guru is not necessary. Then they express this opinion to as many people as they can. But the disciple who is a true seeker will think calmly and quietly and accept that the guru with whom he has lived was not able to convince him and therefore it is his duty to look for one who can.

There is also another point of view regarding this subject. Sometimes the disciple is related to the guru by faith and not by the high qualification of the guru.

In this type of relationship it is the disciple who has something special in him, and not the guru. The speciality of a disciple is his absolute faith, unflinching devotion and total absence of a critical mind. It does not matter how wretched and bogus the guru is, if the disciple has absolute faith it will bring him face to face with the inner guru. Such a disciple is greater than his guru. If the guru lacks faith and the disciple has faith, then the whole work is accomplished completely.

If the guru has faith and the disciple has none, even then the task can be accomplished. If the guru has no faith and the disciple also has no power of faith, then both are doomed to destruction and despair. However, I don't believe such situations ever occur.

About a year ago, a lady came to me in Zinal and she complained bitterly about her guru. She had a lot of papers with her containing written complaints, and she was passing them around amongst the people. I tried my level best to resurrect her faith because I knew what could happen. If the guru had faith, even though she had none, everything would be alright. But if the guru had no faith and she had no faith, then she would be spiritually destroyed.

Actually, her point of view was absurd. She did not say that her guru could not guide her and she did not say he was bad or criminal by character. She only said that she had been in touch with some hierarchies including Lord Buddha, and they told her that she did not have the right guru. I said, 'If you are such a great person that you can communicate with Lord Buddha, forget your guru completely. Actually, you should be his guru.' One more thing she mentioned was that her guru makes a lot of money. I told her, 'This is your view. You were born in the west, and money is the ultimate value there. So you see these negative things in him.' I am not sure if I was able to convince that respected lady.

If you have faith you have hope, and if you can strengthen your faith you can do great things in life. The purpose of all the different rituals we have in life is to strengthen, revive and resurrect the faith. When you lose faith you lose hope, then everything in life is lost. Those people who have broken hearts, they have lost the vision of faith.

When you practise yoga or mantra, or when you approach your guru, you are strengthening your faith. But to keep your faith strong all the time, you must remain intimately connected with your guru. If you begin to doubt him and if your mind is filled with negativity towards him, you are assassinating your faith.

In all the scriptural books it says very clearly that a sadhaka must take care that his faith is not subject to confusion. It is also said, 'Don't worry if your wealth is lost, don't worry if your body fails or if you are reduced to poverty and become a pauper, but protect your faith. Even if you have lost everything else in life, faith will bring it all back, because faith is the mother and father of miracles. Anything can happen, anything can be accomplished if you have that faith.'

Remember, faith is not belief; it is a stronger force than that. With powerful faith you can control nature and even material substances. And in order to strengthen the faith, first comes guru. Lay your head and heart and body before him. You belong to him and he belongs to you. And when negative thoughts come into your mind, please remember that the maya is playing a game and it could bring disaster. It is very difficult to be such a disciple.