Swami Achalanandaji has spoken on the subject of guru bhakti yoga and his exposition has been very lucid, enlightening and inspiring. He says the first guru of a being is the mother, the second is the father and third is the spiritual guru.
If you look at the connection that a child has with the mother, it is very deep and intense. For a mother, the connection with her child is so deep that even the ugliest child in the world will be the most beautiful one for her and vice versa, since the connection is that of love. Through that link of love you imbibe the samskaras, the sensibilities, the sensitivity, the compassion, the softness and kindness from the mother. The soft qualities of life are always inherited from the mother; the gentleness is always inherited from the mother.
The second guru is the father. From the father you receive the hardness, the strictness, the discipline. The two become your first teachers. Then the guru, the spiritual master, comes in and he inspires you to go beyond your limitations. Therefore, these three are considered the most important gurus in one's life.
Apart from having an association with the guru, you should also make an effort, an attempt to know how you function and live. Generally everybody makes their body, their stomach, their mind either a post office or a rubbish bin and everything goes in, every kind of food goes in the stomach in the garb of taste. You do not know what you are eating; you are eating the taste, you are not eating nutrition.
Similarly, the mind is a bundle of habits, and what interesting habits it has. It makes you do things that even animals do not do. It makes you have tobacco; even donkeys do not have tobacco. Who is the intelligent one here? You have tobacco, wine and other intoxicants, which damage your system. You drink at night, as that is your habit, then in the morning you go to the doctor to take medicines for your liver. Then again you drink at night and in the morning again you say, "My liver is failing, my liver is affected due to over-drinking," and again you go to the doctor, yet continue drinking. Where is the relief, where is the change or transformation, an attempt or intention to cure yourself from the damaging influences and effects of your habits? You consider yourselves intellectuals and leaders of society, and this is the way you live?
Apart from your awareness of those people who give you the learning to grow and live, there also has to be an awareness of how you live due to your habits. Try to know when to change and what to change, and then you can progress, develop and evolve in life and attain your aspirations.
Thank you, Swami Achalanandaji.
—Address, 26 October 2013, Polo Ground, Munger