Many different types of guru-disciple relationships have been defined. It is important to believe in only one and that is a heart- to-heart relationship. If you can follow that, you don’t have to worry about any others. In order to develop a heart-to-heart relationship, it is important that first of all you become aware of your own idiosyncrasies and nature. Speaking from personal and practical experience, I have seen that disciples variously make their guru into a rubbish bin and expect the guru to become a miracle worker; or expect the guru to represent the epitome of morality and spirituality; or make the guru into a cardboard person.
Guru is not a person on whom you can dump all your rubbish. Guru is a person who inspires you to lead your life in a creative, efficient and effective way so that there is development of self-awareness – what I can do, what I can’t do, how I can be, how I can’t be, what is the right thing to do, what is the wrong thing to do, how to understand other people’s attitudes and concepts, and how not to impose my own ego and ambitions. This is the basis of the guru’s teaching.
When I first came to the ashram Sri Swamiji told me, “Look, never come to me with your problems. If you have a problem, if you have a difficulty, if you have a conflict, work it out. Work out different solutions and bring them to me. Once you have told me what your solutions are, I will decide which is the right one for you to adopt or follow.”
In this kind of relationship, firstly, I became aware of the problems and difficulties which I faced in my life – in relationships, in work, in communication, in interactions, in my emotions, in my mind – and secondly, I would think of different solutions as to how I could work them out. Then I would go to Sri Swamiji and say, “Swamiji, I have this problem and these are the solutions I have thought of – A, B, C, D, E, F, G.” He would say, “Follow F,” and I would follow F. It was as simple as that.
This relationship is important. In any relationship with the guru it is the solution which has to be discussed, not just the problem. The solutions which you think of are your own product according to your capacities, nature and beliefs. The guru simply channels them. There is never any conflict between the guru and disciple. This is how a heart-to-heart relationship eventually develops.
Printed in Bhakti Marga 2, Connecting with the Divine