First Deserve, Then Desire

From the Autobiography of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

To find a guru who may sincerely look after the interests of his pupils is a difficult task in this world. It is quite true. But to find disciples who will act sincerely according to the instructions of their guru is also a very difficult task. As disciples are arrogant, disobedient and self-willed in these days, no senior man on the spiritual path wishes to accept disciples for training. They bring only troubles to the guru. They do not want to carry out the instructions of the guru. They become gurus themselves in a few days.

This problem of guru and disciples is indeed an embarrassing one. If you cannot find a first class type of guru, at least try to find one who has been treading the path for some years, who is compassionate and selfless and who will take a special interest in your welfare and progress. Realized souls are not rare. Ignorant, worldly-minded persons cannot easily recognize them. Only a few persons who are pure and have all virtues can understand realized souls. They alone will be benefited in their company.

There is no use in running hither and thither in search of realized people. Even if Lord Krishna remains with you, He cannot do anything for you, unless you are fit to receive Him. To serve God and mammon at the same time is impossible. You will have to sacrifice the one or the other. You cannot have light and darkness at the same time. If you want to enjoy spiritual bliss, you will have to renounce sensual pleasures.

Even if one of my disciples lifts up his head from the quagmire of samsara, I have justified my existence. The greatest service that I can do to humanity is training and molding aspirants. Every student, when purified and elevated, becomes a centre of spirituality. He will draw to himself, through his magnetic aura, thousands of baby souls for spiritual transformation and regeneration.

Students who are in the world with responsibilities, need not wait for obtaining a guru. They should select their own ishta devata, a mantra suitable to their taste and do sadhana and prayers. However, it is better to receive the mantra from a guru, for it has a mysterious influence. At the proper time, a guru will appear to them.