A Disciple’s Journey

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Guru is not the planner of your life. The role of the guru in your life is to make you aware of your limitations and strengths. The role of the guru in your life is to make you aware of how you can deal with your six friends: kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya, or desire, aggression, greed, delusion, pride and envy. The role of the guru is not to sit down with you and say what you have to do on a day-to-day basis, on a monthly basis, on a regular basis.

The guru will provide you with a direction and inspiration; beyond that, it is your own journey. If you succeed, fair enough; if you fail, fair enough. The guru will only help that person who shows the metal to change and to become something different. Unless and until that metal is shown, the guru will not make any effort to help the disciple, for ultimately it is the strength of the disciple which has to flower. The guru waits for that strength to manifest. Only when the strength is manifesting will the guru come forward and say, “Now I will lead you.”

Until then, the guru simply sits back and enjoys the games that people play in their own minds. Therefore, the role of the guru is not a planner; his role is to inspire you to discover your own strength. Once you have connected with that strength, certain steps can be taken.

Awareness and receptivity

What are these strengths? The first strength has to be awareness. There are many people in the ashram for example, who read the timetable every day but do not know that mouna starts at six and not at six-thirty. This is the level of awareness of people. This is the level of awareness of people who write lists every day and who cannot remember what they have written. In this situation, what is the role of guru?

The second strength is receptivity. There are only a few things that the guru can do if the receptivity and the doors of the mind of a person are shut. The people who feel that the guru can help them on this path are actually duping themselves. If there is no receptivity, no understanding, no awareness, then you can be with the guru forty years of your life and still remain the same. In that situation, what can the guru do?

If you lack the basic stuff which makes you a human being, if you lack awareness, if you lack understanding, then how can you say, “The guru is the reason why I am like this,” or “The guru has to help me.” It is a distorted state of mind and an unbalanced state of mind.

Rather than seeing what the guru can do for you, why don’t you first try to understand what you can do for yourself to improve your own abilities, awareness and understanding? If you can help yourself, doors will open, and if you cannot help yourself, then no matter how many advices are given to you, you will never follow them. Therefore, the effort should be made to improve yourself and not to ask “What can the guru plan for me?” That is my understanding.

20 April 2014, Ganga Darshan, Munger