THE GURU/CHELA RELATIONSHIP
The primary purpose or the primary essence of a guru/chela relationship is based on love.
What happens when a chela comes to the guru? The guru is not always obliged to accept the chela. In the ancient Aryan Vedic system, which existed thousands of years ago, there were many times, and more often than not, where the chela was immediately rejected, and the guru said, “Sorry, I cannot accept you,” because the guru can judge and estimate the qualities that are inherent in the chela. In those times in India, especially and specifically, there were many, many ashrams and people were more spiritually inclined. Therefore, there was a greater abundance of spiritual teachers and preceptors.
In the modern age, times are different. Today, the position has changed as far as there are not as many ashrams as before.
Another thing that has happened today is that today’s population is far greater than what it was in those times. Taking all these things into consideration, taking the rise of extreme materialism in people into consideration, today’s ashrams would just about take on anyone as a chela. I give you this because although the chela does not qualify if he could benefit just a little, some purpose would be served.
In our organisation, we have one maxim: to turn a person in the right direction; we would never promise anyone self-enlightenment in one lifetime or four lifetimes or ten lifetimes. We say self-effort is necessary. You can evolve yourself through proper guidance, and where there is guidance available, then, by all means, make use of the guidance so that you would evolve.
Vivekananda used an analogy that the seed must be good, so the ground must be well tilled for good fruit to grow. The guru in the form of the seed has to be good, and at the same time, the chela, the ground, also has to till himself well before the tree can grow. In this tilling, practical methods are given; in our case, meditational practices are provided. At the same time, everyone is told repeatedly that you must use discrimination; you must discriminate between right and wrong in your daily living. You must consolidate your actions in such a total manner that all your actions are not only done with mind and body, but also with that divine energy within you, so your daily actions must be a representation of the totality that you are; your body, mind and spirit, and this you have to do consciously.
This is told to everyone over and over again. By all means, your meditational practices will give you strength. Still, that strength has to be restrengthened by your daily living and daily activity so that your meditation and everyday living can walk hand in hand. It forms a very, very beautiful circle whereby one strengthens the other.
Going back to those ancient Vedic times, one could discriminate, and that was a test to chelas that before they approach a guru, they had to prepare themselves. In Vedic times everyone knew that if you do not prepare yourself, a guru will not accept you. Today’s modern living has become such that even the poor gurus have been reduced to such a state that although they know that such and such a chela is not worthy of being accepted, yet he finds worth in the chela, understanding the modern structure of society as it is so immersed in materialism and today the real guru, the true guru, is just satisfied that if I could only ignite one spark in this person’s Heart.
Therefore, you would find chelas coming along with many negative qualities, but the purpose should be pure love and not possessive love. For a person to conceive of and to practice pure love requires very, very great purity. It is the same as saying that if you want to know God, then you become godly. If you want to know purity, then you become pure. That love would be loving for the sake of love that exists, that beautiful divine communion, that energy that exists between chela and guru.
That is, of course, the ideal. But then we have chelas that have negative qualities, and they might develop a possessive love. The guru also assesses possessive love; nothing goes beyond him. A true guru, a good guru, can evaluate even the flicker of the eyelid of the chela and interpret its meaning truthfully and beautifully. He would know. But behind it all, he sees the Divinity in the person. The person is still learning, and therefore a true guru develops or has within him very spontaneously all the kindnesses and all the compassion knowing the weaknesses of the chelas.
THE GURU SEES THE DIVINITY WITHIN
Behind the weaknesses, he also sees the Divinity. Someone complained to me that, oh, the servant is not working well, she is not polishing the furniture well or washing the dishes well. So, I replied that if the servant girl had your brains, she would not be a servant. If there were that perfection in the chelas, they would not need a guru. Therefore, the guru’s primary aim is to accept the chela with all his imperfections because it is only the guru that knows the true quality of love, that knows what true love is. In other words, he accepts the person in the totalness of that person, he does not only see the body and the mind, but he also sees that divine spirit, that eternal spirit that resides within everyone.
We know that some chelas are possessive. This is seen and very openly witnessed by the guru and is very plainly recognised, but the hope is that this person will better himself as the person goes deeper and deeper into their practices. That person will better himself. The guru is also hopeful, and so is the chela. The chela must be optimistic too.
SOMETIMES THE GURU HAS TO BE HARD
There come times where sometimes a guru has to be very hard. He will do some bottom spanking, not only back clapping. He has to do this to achieve a particular result – he has to do this.
Sometimes the immature chela will not recognise what is done; the immature chela will not know; they could only see as far as the nose is, as the saying goes. But the true guru sees behind corners, knows precisely what effect the spanking is going to have. Not only today, not only tomorrow but for all time to come.
What has been stirred up in this chela by doing this? What has been dissolved? Sometimes if you have a boil on your, say, your leg, you have a boil, you use medicine to bring the boil to the rightness. Getting that boil to the rightness can sometimes be painful. But after the boil is ripe and you prick it and all the poisons, the toxins are out, then the person walks well again. That is how it works. Therefore, movements or people that do things on a mass basis have never really been successful as they should be as their principal state. Therefore, the relationship is always individual, always individual, and the guru recognises the shortcomings of everyone because if people never had shortcomings, they would not need guidance or the study for self-condition.
PROGRESSING OUT OF THE ME AND MINE
The ideal is that there should be no possessive love because so many other evils are associated with possession. The idea that a guru teaches people is to avoid me and mine, and here possessiveness is the greatest example of mine. Nevertheless, people progress out of it where they slowly see that the guru is not only a man. However, he is embodied, that he is a Universal Spirit, and how can I possess the Universal Spirit all to myself? They would learn to see that as they advance and broaden their horizons, they too start becoming universal, and then the true mergence takes place between guru and chela, and all possessiveness then is gone.
When chelas start their practices, say someone meditates for three months or six months, a year perhaps, they think that they have not made any progress. Their minds do not appreciate the subtle qualities evoked in them, but others around them see very quickly, “ah, such and such is so different now.” All the difference is more apparent to the guru, which, in turn, encourages the guru to pursue, there is potentiality, and there is progress there.
REACHING ENLIGHTENMENT IS A PROCESS
Some people want to have self-enlightenment in a day which is a false hope to 99% of the people in the world, even the percentage can be so much higher than that. This is a process; it is a process. Some people can achieve enlightenment in one lifetime, others in five lifetimes or perhaps in 500 lifetimes. But everyone reaches the goal, and proper guidance makes them reach the goal quicker.
Qualities like possessiveness, for example, or petty jealousies or minor petty squabbles are slowly eradicated because of the love shown by the guru and shown very, genuinely, and sincerely. These petty squabbles are soon eliminated, but on the other hand, the chelas too must make some conscious effort to understand within themselves and those around them. Some understanding must come around, and if not for anything else, petty differences are to be settled for the guru’s sake. A person says that these petty differences we have are not worthy of our guru’s love.
THE UNFOLDMENT OF LOVE
What we try to do is to settle petty differences. Sometimes we have to sacrifice our egos, and that is what we are after actually, to sacrifice egos. Sometimes we have to undergo these disciplines of subduing our egos for the sake of the welfare of the many so that a movement that is started can grow from strength to strength because we realise that the teachings that are given are sincere, beautiful, pure, they are the wisdom of the ages and we that want to evolve ourselves also must want to see that others evolve too because if the environment is conducive, it, in turn, helps us.
You go into a temple or a church; the environment there is so beautiful that automatically your mind is more tuned towards meditational practices. Who has done this for us? Other people that have gone to those churches and temples and created this lovely atmosphere and we have benefitted by it; likewise, we do that also where we try to benefit the environment so that others could also gain from it and that is the proper sharing, that is the love that is to be generated, that is the message of Christmas, of Christ, the generation of love or the unfoldment of love as we would say.
MAN IS POTENTIALLY DIVINE
And for that, no one should ever lose any hope. Man is potentially divine. This I say practically at every talk that every man, every person can unfold to the maximum limit and the limit. To use that word, the limitless limit is the entirety of all existence – you can call it God where man, the individual self, becomes the Universal Self, the small I become the big I. Everyone will achieve that.
In a movement like ours, we try to awaken this interest and direct a person along the proper path to understand that this is the path for you to reach your destination. Do not crop around in the wrong direction, and if this is achieved, then be sure that the person in one lifetime, five lifetimes, 500 lifetimes, will surely reach the goal. Quicker, they will get to the goal less painfully because they are on the right path, which will take them on the direct path, straight path, painless path, the path without as many obstacles as another path would have, no potholes, or there might be very few. The curb is well-tuned by meditational practices, by right living, by self-effort. The car is well-tuned and oiled, and plenty of petrol comes from the divine energy we gain through our practices, and the car goes smoothly to its goal.
Like that, all the negative qualities we have, such as pettiness, petty squabbles, jealousies, and possessiveness, all slowly disappear; they crumble away. Little rivulets, when they merge away into the ocean, then they are no more rivulets, it is the one bigger ocean, and this is the realisation we have to come to, and this is the realisation that we all will have, which we all will have, which we must have. Then some purpose is achieved, then this movement is worthwhile, and I know that this can be done; I know the future step by step for hundreds and hundreds and thousands of years to come if I say these things or else I would not be wasting my time here now or doing the work I am doing.
THE PATH OF REALISATION IS NOT EASY
I know what the world is heading for, what can be done. I understand how people’s hearts can be opened, how the minds could be expanded and how the whole tone could be elevated towards greater joy and greater beauty and less suffering. We know these things. Still, cooperation is required, and no hope is ever to be lost because the path of realisation is not easy. Do not let anyone promise you miracles, to say that overnight you will have God Realisation. There is no such thing. Yes, you have the spark within you, what the guru or the good teacher does, he fans it very gently, very smoothly with love, with wisdom, he fans that spark until you, the chela, become consumed by it. That little spark is fanned until it becomes a great big fire, and you are consumed in wisdom and love. Then the guru’s wisdom and love become your wisdom and love.
You become identified with the love and the wisdom of the guru, and then there is no separation. Then you do not say I possess my guru; you say I am my guru. That is how we develop; that is how difference is ceased. The goal of life is the identification of man with God. The end and aim of life are the identification of man with God.
EVERYTHING IS LOVELY
God being abstract, let us forget it for the moment, let us find that which is concrete here and now. Let us identify ourselves with one, and then you will see automatically through the one you are identified with the whole universe and after identification with the entire universe, you even go beyond it and then observe the little play. So, when the guru sees the jealousies and quarrels and pettiness of the chelas, he enjoys himself and laughs. That is what I do; some evenings, I am sitting alone by myself doing some initiations from the various forms that have come from overseas, and I say, oh that was beautiful, was that not so nice? The little child was playing so lovely. Everything is lovely. Even the possessiveness or pettiness of the children is pleasing to the father. Even the little naughtiness of your child is lovely to you; it always is, because the true guru does not regard anyone apart from him; everyone is his flesh and blood. He cares, he loves, he advises, he guides, he kisses, hugs, pats, spanks the works. That is the purpose, and that is my message to you.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang SA 1976 – 18