Develop Faith and Trust

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Whether the guru appears to accept or reject you, in reality isn't it the guru's blessing?

So why don't you identify with the reality? Why do you suffer if the guru frowns at you? I would strongly recommend that you all look at how you act in certain situations and under certain compulsions and at what you believe in. Philosophically you can say, “Oh, this is all a test and a trial,” but when the axe falls then you believe the falling of the axe to be a test and a trial. This imbalance is in you.

After all, what is a guru? Guru is not a person, guru is not a physical body, guru is not Mr X, Y or Z. The physical aspect of the guru is the human aspect, and as human beings they also experience pain, suffering, joy and ecstasy. You should read the the biography of any saint. Didn't St Francis of Assisi experience pain and suffering, joy and ecstasy? Didn't he have to play many roles in his life? Didn't Ramakrishna Paramahamsa experience pain and suffering, joy and ecstasy. Didn't Swami Vivekananda, Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda? Didn't all these people play different roles at different times in their lives? Yes!

When we look at them in the image of a human being, we can see that they underwent many trials and tribulations in their own lives and that they came out smiling. That is the only difference between us as human beings and them as human beings. They came out smiling and walking with strength and determination, whereas we begin to cry and fall and bleed and suffer. This is the physical or human difference between a guru and a normal being.

The spiritual difference is similar to the physical difference. We are intellectuals and they are wise. Our intellect binds us and their wisdom liberates them. This is the spiritual difference, the internal difference.

The relationship one can have with a guru at different times is the factor which decides how truthful and faithful to the commitment, to the process, to the path and to the guru one is. If, as an administrator, I raise my stick at somebody, you won't look at me from the perspective of an administrator. You will look at me from a different angle and you will suffer as a result. But if you understand my compulsions as an administrator then you will not suffer.

If you look at me with a different vision, with different eyes, then that relationship or that interaction happens between two people. So who is the winner and who is the loser? Nobody. It is we who, as it is said, create God in our own image. What you feel is what you see. These are the sentiments of those people who have understood this process of interaction between the guru and an aspirant. They have not allowed the compulsive actions or the external actions to influence their goal and aim in life. But we allow those actions to influence our minds, our perceptions and our wisdom.

For that reason I again say that we have not been able to place our trust in ourselves or in the guru. The guru does not teach anything except trust in yourself. The fundamental teaching in a relationship between guru and disciple is that you have to trust yourself, not just the other individual. You don't need to have faith in the other individual, you need to have faith in yourself. The faith has to be free from the tamasic and rajasic expressions which are part of yourself.

You have to work hard to ensure that your faith and trust remains pure from the tamasic and rajasic expressions of yourself, and from the circumstances and situations which influence it from outside. You have to know your place in life. One does not become a prophet overnight. A rock cannot become a statue overnight. Somebody once asked a sculptor, “How can you create beautiful statues from ordinary pieces of rock?” The sculptor replied, “It is very easy, the statue already exists in the rock. I simply remove the excess bits of stone from it.”

That is the role of the guru, but when the excess bits are being removed, we feel pain. When the hammer and chisel strikes the stone then there is pain. If you cry out in pain at that time, or if you crack or if you shatter and break into a thousand pieces, then that image can never come out. So the disciples have to be stronger than the guru and ensure that the spirit is never broken.

—Ganga Darshan, 27 November 1998