Illusion of Duality

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

The relationship between guru and disciple is like the relationship between an electrical cable and light. Guru is the energy, or the spiritual shakti, and the disciple is the revealer of that shakti. Therefore, every chela must develop his spirit and consciousness. When the spirit and consciousness become deep, the disciple realizes the Self. The spirit unfolds within and there is enlightenment.

The guru and disciple are essentially one and not two. The consciousness of the disciple is always plugged into the guru. This is called devotion or bhakti. On that plane they are one and totally united. By constant spiritual practice purity is attained, the dross of the mind is removed and the disciple can realize the guru within.

For a disciple the guru exists outside as well as inside. The external guru is one aspect of his devotion and the inner guru is another aspect of his realization. When he meditates on his guru, he tries to communicate with his inner guru. Therefore, it is said that guru is the most important aspect in spiritual life. However, it should be remembered that the disciple has to belong to a higher category. The higher the disciple’s spirit, the quicker will be the enlightenment.

As the pure water in the pond can reflect the moon in the sky, in the same way, the purity of heart of the disciple can reflect the glory of his guru. There are three important steps in the deeper relationships between man and God. The empirical relationships are between child and parent, brother and sister, man and woman, but the relationship with guru includes them all. It is at once empirical and transcendental. At one level they move as two individuals, one knows and the other does not, but at a higher level they move as one.

Guru and disciple are like one soul living in two bodies. One is always aware of the other on the spiritual plane. External communication is no longer necessary here, because the disciple does not function on the level where he needs the guru’s physical presence. He has the guru’s spirit within him, which illumines the dark corners of his being. What need is there to talk to him or see his face?

As Kabir said, “If your beloved lives abroad, do write him a letter; but if your beloved dwells within, there is no movement, no emotion, no question of even being together. Wherever you are, you are always close.” 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 in communication? This is the principle and philosophy that has to be understood.

In modern physics also, there are similar 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 one experiences is on account of one’s limitations. In fact, there is only unity. There is only one electricity here, but my microphone is working and his microphone is working, and the tape recorder is also working. You can put ten tape recorders and ten microphones. One electrical energy is flowing through all. Diversity is there, but unity is the base.

There is one energy between guru and disciple, not two energies. It is true that there are two bodies, but modern physics does not even accept that there are two bodies. Quantum theory says that even the difference of body is illusion. In the latest modern physics, scientists have come to the point that this experience which you are having is not true. It is purely an experience.

Printed in Bhakti Marga 2, Connecting with the Divine