Who is a guru?
The guru is a soul. Everyone has a soul; someone has an expansive soul, someone has a constricted soul, someone has a bright soul, and someone has a dim soul. The one whose soul is luminous is guru. The body is not guru. It is the soul residing in the body who is guru, and that is who is worshipped, not the body.
The disciple is not the body either. The soul within you is the disciple. The body and soul are two different things in the same way as this house and I are two different things. I live in this house, but am I the house? No, we are different. The body is called deha and the one who lives in it is called dehi, atman. And there are some whose atman, soul, is luminous and great. Some souls are dark, some demonic, some divine, some saintly. Atman is a quality, and the one whose soul is of a very good quality is called guru.
Guru is one who provides light, who dispels darkness. The external, physical relationship between guru and disciple is nothing. That is what is visible, thats all. The real relationship is of the soul, and the soul relates through bhakti and shraddha, devotion and faith. This relationship is not formed by living with the guru; it is formed through devotion and faith. When the disciple has devotion and faith for guru, he does not need to be in his physical presence. Souls do not have physical distance. You can receive electricity from the powerhouse in your room. It is always there, even though the electricity does not belong to the room, even though the poles are different.
The body experiences distance, not the soul. This is the truth, but understanding it and experiencing it are two different things. To get the experience, you must contemplate ceaselessly: who am I, what is the soul? Are you a woman? No, your body is that of a woman. You are someones wife that is a physical relationship. But the soul within you is not that of a woman or man, it is not Hindu or Muslim, Marwari or Bihari. It is just the soul. The soul does not have any race, religion or country, because its form is luminosity.
The form of atman is light. It is called satyam-shivam- sundaram (truth-auspiciousness-beauty) or sat-chit-ananda (truth-consciousness-bliss). However, in reality, to live in the world we need someone to show us the way. So, for such illumination of the path, the guru appears before the disciple in the form that he wants to see him, in the form of a body.
—20 August, 2000
What should be the quality of faith and belief between guru and disciple?
That is not an easy question to answer. First you need to determine what should be the relationship between guru and disciple. What are the rules of this relationship, what are its obligations? For example, if there is no love and faith between a husband and wife, then their relationship is a farce. In the same way, if there is no faith and respect, the relationship between guru and disciple is superficial; there is no depth in it whatsoever.
The guru is a very important person for the disciple. He is the one who guides the disciples life systematically; he is the one who steers his boat. If the guru has a body, he is a living guru. If he no longer lives in his body, it does not matter. The first time I saw Swami Sivananda, I accepted him as my guru. I did not weigh or measure him after that. Once you are married there is no point in weighing and measuring your spouse. If you want to live together, stop measuring. Therefore I did not weigh or measure him, but what I felt was What an amazing man! And I stayed on in the ashram.
I was very young, I had tremendous strength, I worked very hard, I even cut a canal through mountains. There was no water there in those days. So I cut through seven miles of mountains and made a tank as big as Ganesh Kutir. We were bitten by mosquitoes and scorpions, snakes were crawling about. There were no mosquito nets. There was nothing. But everything was fine. I did not even realize the existence of desires. I did not realize the existence of mosquitoes, scorpions and snakes. The external mosquitoes are manageable, but it is the mosquitoes and cockroaches inside, the animal inside, that we need to manage.
I would work and work, and the moment my head hit the pillow, I would be fast asleep. I never realized when I fell asleep. I never had dreams. Dreams appear when the quality of sleep is thirty or forty percent. One whose sleep is one hundred percent, what dreams will he have! Thats how I stayed with Guruji.
Even now my Guruji talks to me. I dont know his telephone number, but he knows mine. Whenever he wants to speak to me, he calls me. He doesnt say much, he is a man of few words. Occasionally, not once a year but once in ten or twelve years, he whispers silently into my soul. His voice does not use Hindi, English, Sanskrit, Urdu, French or German; it is the language of silence. It is a mystic language, and I understand everything. What that is, I cannot explain to you. Until you eat sugar you will not know whether sugar is sweet or sour. So a relationship with guru that is based on faith is a very good relationship.
The guru presents many tests before you in your life. I was tested, too. The guru does not test you on only one matter, but on many subjects. One of the most important tests is: to what extent can you let go of the world, how much asakti, attachment, do you carry. Am I dear to you or is the world dear to you? Who do you love me or him? The tests on desire, anger, greed and infatuation are fewer. The most difficult thing is attachment, the notion this is mine.
Yajnavalkya used to perform his daily worship at a rock on the banks of a river. Once he went away on pilgrimage. He returned after a year having visited many holy places, and found that another brahmin was using the rock for his daily worship. Why are you sitting on my rock? Yajnavalkya asked. Just because you sat on it for a year, has it become your rock? asked the brahmin in turn.
You create attachments for the sake of your pleasure. This world, the body, name, fame and beauty are not of greater value than your guru. If Guruji says, Go to Uttarakhand, say, Yes, I am ready and not, Guruji, I am 78 years old, what if I get a heart attack? A gurus words are not spoken in vain. If he says something, do it. The faith and belief for guru should be the same as the faith and belief between lovers. It is an eternal relationship. It is not a relationship that lasts for just a few months or years, it is eternal.
—16 May, 2000
Can we realize the extent of our faith in guru? Sometimes it feels as if there is immense faith, and sometimes as if there is very little.
When things are peaceful you do not get to know the quality of your faith. Disciples get to realize the quality of their faith only when the guru presents certain difficult tests before them. This is especially true of sannyasin disciples who have surrendered to guru, who live with him, who have a total relationship with him. At a certain time during their stay, they are tested. At that time, the disciple whose faith does not break, passes. And the guru gives him some sort of a certificate, a reward; he gives him something in the form of a reward. That is called guru kripa, gurus grace. He gives him some power.
Jesus Christ was very young when someone told him that an enlightened man who initiated people in water had arrived at the village. Jesus went to him and took initiation. That man was John the Baptist. Jesus Christ received the power of healing from him.
The tests come in many forms before the disciple: how big is his ego, how many desires and attachments does he have, what is the extent of his attraction for the world, how much anger does he carry. All this is tested. If he can pass in all these respects, it means that he has immense faith in guru. His faith is endless, unequivocal, no condition could destroy it. This faith is the base of a disciples life; it is what gets him through the journey of life. That is his qualification, too.
Everyone can say that they have immense faith in God or guru. Someone may say, I have so much faith in God that I do not eat without feeding Him. This is not a sign of faith. It is a good thing; you do not need to leave it. But faith is something that is experienced within. When you have faith in someone, you consider them your own and yourself as theirs. You feel as if the two are one. There is no duality. However, while this experience is forming, the world may tempt you: you may get infatuated to a man or woman, get attracted to wealth or miss your mother. Many such things can happen. Suddenly, the mind is engrossed elsewhere; this happens very quickly, the emotion assumes speed like a vehicle without brakes. Guruji watches you undergoing all this, but does not say anything.
If a car goes on super speed without brakes, an accident is inevitable. Under such circumstances, sometimes the disciple breaks down. This means that his faith was not true faith, or it was weak or only intellectual. His faith was connected only with his mind, not with his emotions. Intellectual, physical and emotional these are three different things. So, the disciples faith is tested, and the tests come in every disciples life. In time, it is seen how he overcomes the obstacles. You may become so attached to something that when Guruji says, Come to Rishikesh, you reply, Guruji, I have a lot of work here. So Guruji says, Okay, stay there. You stay back, and till today you are sitting there.
The last word. The way a brahmins strength is knowledge, a kshatriyas strength is physical prowess, a vaishyas strength is dharma, a shudras strength is hard work a disciples strength is faith.
—17 May, 2000