Swami Vivekananda always maintained the identity: ‘I am a disciple,’ and not a teacher, not a master, not a guru. Similarly, when we look at other lives, including the life of our own guru Swami Satyananda, we see that he also always felt that he was a disciple. Looking at these personalities who have reached an apex of spiritual awareness, we find that one quality which outshines every other quality is oneness with their own master.
Oneness with the master means ‘the thoughts of the master are mine, the feelings of the master are mine, the acts of the master are mine’, and mine are his or hers’. It is the feeling of oneness and identification with the vision of the master that makes one a disciple. Of course, some people will say surrender, others will say obedience and many opinions will be floated. From my understanding there are two types of people: people who have their own agendas and people who do not have their own agendas. Those of the first group come many times with their own agendas – “I’ll become a disciple, I’ll learn something. Then I’ll go out, I’ll gather a group of disciples, I’ll be recognized, I shall open a centre, an institute, I shall become famous, I will write books, I shall travel.” So, they come with their own agendas and after completing their time and training, they leave to follow their own agendas in life and they are only students, they are not disciples.
People of the other group which does not have an agenda identify with the work, they identify with the mind-set, they become part and parcel of the place. They become part and parcel of the guru’s mission. It is these people who can eventually develop that close identification with their master and become real disciples. That has been the historical evidence that we see from the lives of people who have attained real discipleship.
14 October 2018, Ganga Darshan, Munger