Reflections on Guru-Bhakti

From Guru-Bhakti Yoga by Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The transformation of consciousness of a disciple through the influence of the guru is both a subjective and an objective process. Mind is an objectified stress in the universal consciousness and is like a ripple therein. The guru as well as the disciple are such 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 guru is a Brahmanishtha, one rooted in the Infinite Truth. The mind of the guru, being nearest to the absolute condition of changeless Existence, possesses limitless powers beyond imagination. The initiation of the disciple by the guru is a process of infusion by the guru of this supernormal force of spiritual consciousness into the grosser state of the disciple's mind which results in dispelling darkness and enlightening the mind of the latter. The length of time taken by the process of the disciple's spiritual illumination is directly proportional to the receptive capacity of the disciple and the consciousness-force of the guru. No action or event is completely subjective or completely objective.

The truth is midway between the two. Effort and grace are the subjective and the objective forces simultaneously working and depending on each other. The external and the internal are the two complementary faces of the one whole being. There is no purpose served when there is only the eye or when there is only the external luminous object. The contact of the two effects the perception of light. If entire subjectivity were the truth, the whole world would have vanished when the first person attained Self-realization. If entire objectivity were the truth, no person could have attained liberation, until the entire universe was exalted to the consciousness of the unconditioned absolute. None of these is the complete truth.

The subject and the object have equal shares in the transformation of an individual. The one is a copy of the other. The world is the materialization of the collective totality of the thoughts of all the beings constituting it, and, hence, the dissolution of the mind of one being among them requires a reshuffling in the thoughts of the others. The sustenance of the world henceforth is the work of only the remaining ones.

Thus the occurring of an event is through blending together of both the internal and the external, the subjective and the objective powers of the Pure Being. The guru's 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 help which is derived from the guru cannot be estimated by the faculty of thinking, for the guru is identical with Existence Itself.