Guru-Disciple Relationship

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Many disciples have strong wavelength of mind. For them, geographical barriers and distances are no barrier. One thing you must understand – physical distances are not mental distances, mental distances are not emotional distances and emotional distances are not spiritual distances. What is 60,000 km may be nothing in the mind. Mind does not work through the physical plane. It has another plane of travelling. We call them fields, like electromagnetic field, radioactive field. Now this distance in yoga we call loka. In science we call it field.

There is the switch and here is the microphone. You can take this microphone say another 200 meters away. This is 10 meters. Make it 500 metres. You put on the switch, the electric waves will reach 5 meters, 70 metres, 500 metres at the same time. There will not be even the briefest delay of point 000001 second. This distance is within the field. To communicate with you here takes the same time as to communicate with you from India to Martinique.

The difficulty comes when you do not understand the ratio of distances. If I live in Martinique, the distance between your house and my house will be one kilometre. If I live in India, it is 10,000 km. So it should take 10,000 more minutes – but that is not the right mathematics. On the mental plane one km or 10,000 km is exactly the same. When you dream in the night what happens? You can see such a big elephant. How big is your brain, tell me? You dream you flyby a jumbo, that is the size of consciousness in dream.

Of dream and truth

I will give you one example. There is a philosophical book in India. It has stories. Its name is Yoga Vasishtha. There is a story there. A queen and a king were sitting in their drawing room. The king was narrating some of his hunting expeditions. In the meantime, the queen just slept. In sleep she dreamed that she died, and again she continued to dream that she was reborn. She grew up as a girl and was married. She had children, she became old. She died and again she was reborn. She became young, she married, she had children, she became old. She died and she was reborn. Like this she dreamed seven times death and seven times life and seven times birth. Then she came out of the dream. Her husband had not even completed one sentence.

Now you can equate: her husband had not even completed two minutes and she had completed seven lives of experience. She had experienced children, marriage, birth, death, happiness. Maybe the dream is not true, but what proof is there that this life is true?

What is the definition of truth? That which does not change is truth. Dream changes so it is not truth. In the night, this stage of awareness also changes so it is also not truth. You are a happy man and in the night you dream that you are an unhappy man. So neither this state is truth nor that is truth.

True existence is everlasting. It is not subject to time and space. The experiences in the mind are related to mind. The experiences in this waking state are related to the senses. Senses are related to the objects. Mind is related to the ideas, and therefore the distances are different.

Diversity and unity

There is another principle – guru and disciple are two, but in truth they are one. The duality is only an illusion. In truth there is no duality, and therefore, if guru and disciple are one, where is the difficulty of communication? This is the principle and this is the philosophy which we have to understand.

In modern physics also we have some such principles. There is a totality of matter, that is to say, there is no diversity in matter. You see so many million people, so many million animals, so many million birds, and many other things on this earth. They are not many; the diversity which we experience is on account of our limitations. In fact, there is only unity. You see there is only one electricity here, but my microphone is working and his microphone is also working, and the tape recorder is also working. You could put ten tape recorders and ten microphones, but the one electrical energy is flowing through all. Diversity is there but unity is the base.

Energy is one between guru and disciple. There are no two energies at all. Bodies are two, true, but in modern physics they don’t even accept that there are two bodies. The latest quantum theory says the difference of body is illusion. In the latest modern physics they have come to the point that this experience which you are having is not true. It is just an experience.

You know the great philosopher of India, Shankaracharya and the great philosopher Jung said the same thing. Jung was the western philosopher and Shankaracharya was the eastern philosopher. They agree that the whole is the experience of one being. Just as you dream in the night of cities, men and women, of so many things. The objects in the dream have one experiencer and that is you. In the same way, what you see, this material manifestation, is an experience of someone.

Disciples should first of all understand the true philosophy of their relationship. It is not a social relationship. It is not a religious relationship. It is an out and out spiritual relationship. Let us first come to the conclusion: ‘I and my guru are one’. When you practise higher spiritual practices this truth must be engrained in your mind. Duality is a path, non-duality is the only truth. Guru and disciple truly live in their bodies, but the energy in them is the same, and therefore distances do not matter at all. My disciples can always communicate with me, they must just dial.

How does one become a disciple of a guru?

You see the relationship between guru and disciple is very difficult to explain. You go to a teacher and learn yoga from him that is one discipleship. It is an academic relationship. You go to somebody and have a mantra from him; you are his disciple that ends the matter. Or you go to someone and accept sannyasa from him, he becomes your guru; you are his disciple that ends the matter.

When you want to tread the spiritual path and when you want to amplify your spiritual consciousness and when you want to see the inner light, then you must have a definite relationship with a guru and that relationship is very, very intense. It has to be very intense.

Cold relationships with guru, lukewarm relationships with guru will not do on this path. There has to be intensity and by the intensity of your relationship to guru a link is formed between you and him.

Guru means dispeller of inner darkness. Guru does not mean teacher. You bring a candle that dispels the darkness of this room. You blow out the candle, there is darkness. Within the mind you can see nothing. You close your eyes, what do you see? Nothing. Some wild thoughts, some stray things. ‘Oh, I have to go to Martinique’ or ‘I have to go to Tahiti’ or ‘I have to go to London’. That is all that is in the mind, nothing else you know. If you stop these thoughts you will see nothing.

If it is completely dark here, and you enter this hall, you will see nobody here. There are fifty hundred people here, but you will not see anyone because you have the eyes but no light. In the same way, there are so many things within you. You have a mind to see but not the light. You have to start with the guru whose image becomes an intense influence on your mind.

You close your eyes and you just see him. It is an image which is forcible. So, in this dark room at least you are able to see one person. After that you will see many more things. Within this mind there are not only passions, not only impurities, no it is not correct. There is not only negativity here. Within the ocean of mind you have many jewels. You have many, many things within yourself which you cannot even believe now. You see how many things in the world man has created. So many, thousands of millions of things man has created. They are the wealth of his mind and this is just the material things. Man is capable of creating more.

We are not born of matter. We are not born of the father’s sperm and mother’s ovum. A motor car is not the driver or passenger. This body is the motor car. Who is the passenger? Who drives this car, tell me? Guru drives the car and your soul, atma, is the passenger. Body is the vehicle. Body is a product of mother and father. Spirit is not the product of mother and father.

So the relationship between the guru and the disciple should be very, very, very intense. It has to be more intense than the relationship between mother and child. The totality has to be intense. No, the awareness has to be total, not a little awareness. You go to your office and the guru is with you. You sleep in the night, he is there. You eat and he is there. You are always with him. No, he is always with you. That is the true relationship between guru and disciple.

Disciples cheat guru when the intensity of the relationship is totally absent. If a truly intense relationship is established between guru and disciple, neither the disciple can cheat the guru nor will the disciple feel he has been cheated.

12 April 1982, Martinique