Community on Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda and Spirituality
and that though he has ceased to be the
former’s disciple, he should have respect for him also. What is your view?
The vast majority of people do not enjoy the good fortune of coming into contact with a
God-realized saint. What happens in their case is this. Traditionally, each family has a Guru-
Parampara. Each sect has its own sectional Guru. The aspirant born in a particular sect has, by
that mere fact, to accept the Guru of the sect as his own Guru. This Guru is by no means fit to be
called so, according to the standards set by our Sastras. He is not a spiritual personality, but a
religious person. He does not possess Adhyatmic realization, but is appointed as a religious
leader in order not to keep this traditional post vacant. The aspirant takes him as his Guru and
receives initiation from him. He practices Sadhana according to his Guru’s teachings and up to a
certain point he can certainly progress. Up to this point only that Guru himself has gone! To go
beyond that stage, that Guru cannot guide the aspirant, because he is not a God-realized sage. At
that stage, if the Sadhak happens to meet a Guru of higher achievements, he can certainly become
his disciple. In fact, if his first Guru is sincere, he himself will direct the disciple to the feet of
another Guru of higher achievements.
If this question of changing the Guru arises in an aspirant who has already received
initiation from a Guru who has reached the highest stage, the defect is in the aspirant, not in the
Guru. And, even if the aspirant goes to another Guru, this “want” cannot be fulfilled. He must
correct the defect in himself and stick to his Guru; he must banish the desire to change his Guru.
Scriptures tell us that if we have once accepted a Brahma-Nishtha as our Guru, we should
not change our allegiance to another Guru. The spiritual connection or link is eternal. If an
aspirant tries to break it and runs after all kinds of Siddhas and Jnanis, he cannot progress even
an inch on the path. The ideal is beautifully stated in the Upanishadic Mantra:
“Yasya Deve Para Bhaktihi Yatha Deve Thatha Gurow
Tasyaite Kathithahyartha Prakasante Mahatmanah”
It means: He who has supreme devotion to God, and as much devotion to his Guru as he
has to God, to him the truths of the Upanishads shall be revealed. If devotion to God cannot be
changed, devotion to the Guru also cannot be changed.
Do not forget the glorious example of Ekalavya. He did not have even a sight of the
Guru; yet, his devotion was so great that he took a mere image to be his living Guru and his
Bhavana was so intense that this mud-Guru taught him the great secrets of archery. Here it is
Bhavana that really counts.
Upa-Gurus, however, can be countless; this is what the life of the Avadhuta that is
narrated in the Bhagavata teaches us. We should respect all saints. The spiritual Guru sows the
spiritual seed in us. It is our business to water it, to make it grow in us, so that it might in time
yield the delicious fruit of Self-realization.