A sincere disciple who is living with his guru should not foolishly sit idle, waiting for verbal instruction from the guru every day. The day-to-day conduct of the guru is in itself a living ideal to one who is observant. The disciple must deserve and eagerly learn precious lessons of life from the personality and actions of the guru. The life of guru is a living sermon to the sincere disciple. The guru teaches through personal example. The disciple learns through devout observation. By constant contact, the disciple imbibes the virtues of the guru. He is moulded gradually.
The true disciple is concerned only with the divine nature of the guru. The gurus actions as a person are not the disciples concern. He is totally oblivious to them. To him the guru is guru, even if he acts unconventionally. Always remember that the nature of a saint is unfathomable. Judge him not. Measure not his divine nature with the inadequate yardstick of your ignorance.
The preceptor should be regarded as the main piece of arani, the two pieces of wood traditionally used for kindling the sacred fire, and the pupil the second one; instruction is the piece that connects them and knowledge is the union that brings happiness.
If you remain in the company of a developed saint, you will be really benefited by his magnetic aura and wonderful spiritual currents. His company will be like a fortress for you. You will not be affected by evil influences. There is no fear of downfall. You can have rapid spiritual progress. Young aspirants should remain in the company of their gurus or other experienced saints till they are firmly moulded and established in deep meditation. Nowadays many young aspirants wander aimlessly from place to place. They do not care to hear the instructions of their masters. They want independence from the very start. Hence they do not make any progress in yoga.
Even the proximity of the guru elevates the mental attitude of an aspirant. The pure wisdom which is thus acquired from the guru removes maya or delusion. He who, through the favour of the guru, knows that the one Lord has become many due to maya, knows the truth and understands the Vedas. All qualifications will come by themselves when you are in the company of evolved persons and live in an atmosphere charged with spiritual vibrations.
Association with the guru is called satsang. A moments satsang with the guru is far superior to tapas for millions of years. There are very few people in this world who can correctly think for themselves, who can do sadvichara and depend on their own intelligence in their pursuit of truth. These few people are, of course, their own gurus or teachers, and do not require any other teacher. Their satsang consists in their meditation on the highest intelligence or consciousness.
Those who cannot think correctly and cannot depend on their own thoughts, feelings and volitions, who are swayed by passions and delusions, constitute the majority of humankind. Such people require a wise and good guru or teacher in order that they may lead a well-directed life. Their satsang consists in the company and service of, receiving direct instructions from, and observing and emulating the conduct of their guru or teacher.
It is only the sincere and earnest aspirant who knows the real value of satsang or association with saints and sages. Real satsang gives the aspirant inner spiritual strength to face the struggles of life, overcome temptations, kill inner cravings and fill the mind with positive divine thoughts.
The company of a saint or sage can transform evil into good. Faith in God, in scriptures, attachment and devotion to God, slowly develop in those who participate in regular satsang. Even a sinner has hope through the sanga, association, of a mahatma. Rogues such as Jagai and Mathai and dacoit Ratnakara were all transformed into saints by satsang.
The guru tests the students in various ways. Some students misunderstand him and lose faith in him, hence they are not benefited. But those that stand the tests boldly, come out successful in the end.
The periodical examinations in the university of sages are very stiff indeed. Once a great sage, Gorakhnath, asked some students to climb a tall tree and throw themselves head-down on to a very sharp trident. Many of the faithless students kept quiet. But one faithful student at once climbed up the tree with lightning speed and hurtled himself down. He was protected by the invisible hands of the sage and had immediate self-realization. This man had no deha-adhyasa, identification with the body, but the others had strong attachment to their bodies.
Once Guru Govind Singh tested his students. He said, My dear disciples, if you have real devotion towards me, let six of you come forward and give me your heads. Two faithful disciples offered their heads.
Thus disciples should be patient when the guru presents them with problems for the sake of testing. The guru is none other than the Divine Mother herself, descended into the world in order to elevate the aspirant. The key to the door that opens into the realm of truth and perfection does not lie in those who see through the intellect, but those who intuit the reality in integral comprehension.
In truth the guru dwells in your heart. The guru is ever by your side. You only have to think of him with real bhava, feeling, and you will at once feel his presence without fail. In proportion to the effacement of the lower ego does the guru manifest in you and appear before you. Therefore be ever ready to receive him and empty yourself of all contents so that he may fill himself in you.
There is no hope of salvation for the deluded soul without the healing, magnetic touch and guidance of the spiritual preceptor. It is only the guru who can effect a radical change in the angle of vision of a person and raise him to sublime, transcendental heights of eternal life in the Self.
This change of the lower nature is not easy. The force of habit is ever strong and inveterate. It demands great strength of will on the part of the disciple. The aspirant often feels helpless against the force of old habits. However, when he lives under the guidance of guru, the preceptor finds out his defects and points out suitable ways to eradicate them.
The disciples transformation through the influence of the guru is both a subjective and an objective process. Mind is an objectified stress in universal consciousness and is like a ripple therein. The guru as well as the disciple are each consciousness-stresses differing only in the degree of subtlety and expansiveness of their condition. Each higher, subtler and more expansive condition is more potent and inclusive than the lower.
The initiation of the disciple by the guru is a process of the infusion of this supernormal force of spiritual consciousness into the grosser state of the disciples mind which results in the dispelling of the darkness and the enlightening of the mind. The gurus unlimited consciousness invades the dark corner of the disciple who is able to bear it through the strength of truth and purity, and who receives it to the extent his mind is purged of rajas and tamas. The length of time taken by the process of the disciples spiritual illumination is directly proportional to the receptive capacity of the disciple and the consciousness-force of the guru.
Just as you can give an orange to a person, so also spiritual power can be transmitted by one to another. This method of transmitting spiritual powers is termed shakti sanchar. In shakti sanchar, a certain spiritual vibration of the satguru is actually transferred to the mind of the disciple.
Shakti sanchar comes through parampara, tradition. It is a hidden mystic science. It is handed down from guru to disciple. Shakti sanchar is of two kinds, lower and higher. The lower one is only a jada kriya, static action, wherein one automatically performs asana, pranayama, bandhas, mudras, etc. The student must not restrain his iccha shakti, creative force. He must act according to the inner inspiration. At this time, the mind is highly elevated. The moment the aspirant closes his eyes, meditation comes by itself. By the grace of the guru, through shakti sanchar, kundalini is awakened. Spiritual power is transmitted by the guru to the disciple whom he considers fit for shakti sanchar. The guru can transform the disciple by a look, a touch, a thought or a word, or mere willing.
However, the disciple should not rest satisfied with the transmission of power from the guru. He will have to struggle hard in sadhana for further perfection and attainments. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa touched Swami Vivekananda and Swami Vivekananda had a super-conscious experience. Yet he struggled hard for seven more years, even after the touch, for attaining perfection.
Once Lord Krishna and Arjuna went incognito to the house of a big zamindar, landlord, and asked for bhiksha, alms. The man refused the bhiksha and insulted them. Lord Krishna went away blessing the zamindar: May your wealth increase by ten lakhs. Then they went to the house of a poor man whose sole income was derived from a cow he had. He gave the visitors all the milk there was in the house and treated them with great respect and veneration. When he was about to depart, Lord Krishna blessed him: May the cow die immediately. And the cow died.
Arjuna was unable to understand the mystery. He was puzzled and protested to Lord Krishna. Krishna said, Arjuna, the zamindar is already rich. He is arrogant. If I give him some more wealth, he will be thoroughly infatuated. This pious poor man has only one object to which he is attached. It is the cow. If it perishes, then he will acquire undivided devotion to me. He will attain moksha.
Such are the mysterious ways in which gurus grace descends upon those who are devoted to him.