Topic: Gurus and followers. In recent years, there has been a lot of controversy regarding certain spiritual organizations and the actions of both their leaders and followers. This has lead to a lot of doubt, confusion and even disillusionment. Mohanji has received many mails pertaining to the subject of Gurus and followers. This post addresses some of the issues raised. Hope it gives you clarity.
“A student threw a stone at his teacher. The teacher was hurt and hospitalised. The head of the institution asked the student’s parents to present themselves for a discussion on disciplinary actions to be taken against the student. The parents appeared on time. The first thing the principal asked the student’s father was “Do you throw stones at your superiors?” The perplexed father said “Well, of course not”. The principal asked again “If you have that much wisdom, then why is your son behaving in this way?”
The point here is, all of us are individuals. Every being is Unique. We all have our own expressions and personal style. We are inimitable in that way. But, society is often two dimensional. When we do something seemingly wrong, irrespective of our reasons for these actions, society will blame our upbringing for that. They will blame our parents, grandparents and even our clan, on some occasions.
Likewise, we have seen or heard many spiritual masters in our life time, both alive and departed. We have also seen or witnessed their followers. Some of them are extremely fanatic and some are moderate, considerate or more tolerant. Yet, we, as society look at their expressions and judge their alive or departed Guru. Am I right? Do we not judge a Guru based on the expressions of his disciples? Are we right in doing so?
The Guru could well be enlightened and might be a total renunciate. His disciple might be a pretender or just another seeker of knowledge carrying a big baggage of sundry desires, dreams and aspirations of making it big in life. He may choose to use the name of a famous guru in order to satisfy his personal desires. Do you think the Guru asked him to do that? Do you think he is reflecting the Guru’s teaching? Do you think that we can blame the Guru for all the actions of his followers? The answer is a BIG and categorical “NO”.
Just like the father of the student was helpless in that given situation, every Guru is helpless in the case of his or her followers. What can a Guru do, if his disciple chooses to mis-interpret or deliberately twist the Guru’s teachings for his personal advantage? This is especially so when the mission grows and the Guru becomes a public figure. He is even more vulnerable. People approach him with multiple interests. Some come in search of guidance and to seek liberation. They are sincere seekers and a big rarity. Some come to obtain a mantra to achieve instant success, which is more common. Some come to see how he operates, which will help them set up their own shop at some point in time. There are many like this. They are collectors. They are after transferable knowledge and not non-transferable experience from the Guru. Some come to test the Guru. Some to compare one Guru with another, and to judge, criticize or ridicule. Some come because of simple things such as they like the food in the ashram or because their spouse cannot cook well. Some come to escape from their nagging realities. Some come because the girl or boy they love visits this Guru. Likewise, different reasons for different folks!!!
As one famous model or actress said to a famous Guru “Your Holiness, I want to sleep with you.” The saint smiled and said, “Why sleep, my darling? I am trying to wake the sleeping people up!!!”. On this occasion, for the model, it is another feather in her cap, “I have also slept with a holy man!!!”. This could possibly give a morale boost for her public standing and her socio-commercial positioning. She may gain more space in the gossip columns and may attain more press coverage. For the Guru, it is usually scandalizing. He may get ruined. His reputation may get tarnished. This is especially so, if the Guru has worked hard to maintain uniformity in his image or cultivated an image of invincibility!!! For those who do not care about their public image, nothing matters.
How can the Guru help all the reasons of his disciples? He can only stay neutral at all times. Terrestrial entanglements are not worth it. Great saints may have become involved from time to time, but for specific reasons and purposes. For example Vyasa, Vishwamitra etc.
Whatever rises, must fall. This is the way earth’s gravitational forces work. Nothing can stay in the air for more than a reasonable time. No bird can stay in the air forever. It must rest its wings some time. So, if we expect happiness and upliftment all the time, it cannot happen. We have to go through the dualities of existence until we die. Or, until we are not worried about or bound by terrestrial sensory objects in order to find our fulfillment. If we are self- sufficient, that means, sufficiently established in self, we will be established in perpetual happiness.
Do not judge or criticise anyone – let alone a Guru or a spiritual teacher, because we do not or cannot know and understand anyone fully, nor do we know their karmic configuration which provokes their thoughts, words and actions. Ahimsa is the best path. Perfect Non Violence in thoughts, words and action. Do not judge a father by looking at his son. Do not judge any Guru by looking at his or her disciples. Guru can give only as much as a disciple can carry with him. If Guru is a flowing river and disciple has the capacity to carry only one glass of water, can we judge the guru’s capacity as one glass of water? Here, the disciple can publicly express his Guru’s stature only within his capacity and understanding, which is only one glass!!.
Please understand this clearly. Guru is often limitless. Followers usually have tremendous limitations. Guru will indeed try to strengthen them to enhance their capacity. It is like body building. You cannot lift the weight beyond your initial or actual capacity, even if your instructor asks you to take or try more weight. Your instructor may lift the weight easily because of his experience. You have to work everyday and slowly increase your capacity. You need faith, tenacity, consistency, application and dedication. Same with spirituality. You cannot understand the consciousness of a Guru, overnight. It takes time and it definitely takes patience. Gurus exist in a much higher realm and the higher they go, the less street-smart they become. Their operational medium becomes unconditional love. When they cross over to spiritual realms and establish there, they stop depending on their body, mind and intellect. I am talking about sadgurus, the great masters. Acharyas are doing it for money. That is a different story.
So, do not judge a Guru based on the expressions of a disciple who operates with his limited body, mind and intellect. Live and Let Live.
Q: Living in the presence of enlightened masters have been given so much importance in the Dattatreya, Kriya as well as Siddha tradition. In fact, all the tradition recommends living near a master. What is your opinion?
Ans: I have split your question into two. Both are good questions and most relevant in today’s time. It is true that the presence of a living master has a purgating, purifying effect in a receptive disciple. If the disciple is not receptive, even if the highest master is near him, it will not benefit him. Individual receptivity and eligibility or capacity for absorption is the key to gain maximum benefit from the proximity of a Guru.
The presence of a true Master is like the fire keeping the tamas of cold away, when you sit near the fire. The tejus of a true master will keep the Tamas away, the most detrimental factor in the spiritual progress. This helps the disciple to evolve faster. The proximity of the master is also a constant reminder to a worthy disciple. In his energy field, situations melt and the events flow through life, effortlessly. A true master can see and understand the constitution of a disciple and delivers only what he can consume. Wastage never happens. The same medicine cannot cure all diseases. A true guru will only prescribe the medicine the disciple actually needs, irrespective of whether it is sweet or bitter. When the intention is pure, then, the medicine works. Unshakeable Faith of the disciple in his guru is the key here. Shaking, wavering or shifting faith cannot bring clear results, just like if you keep shaking the glass, milk cannot be poured without spillage into it. So, living with a saint has its unique value. But, do not imitate the saint who has already attained enlightenment. Allow him to be himself and follow only his directions and teachings, without judging his attitude and behavior. Leave him alone and be yourself. Live and let live. 🙂
Q: I would like to know the most effective method of Shaktipat? Who can give saktipat? What is the criteria and I have read that one of the sign of a true Datta master is his ability to change one’s consciousness through delivering saktipat. Am I right?
Ans: You are right. The most effective Shaktipat happens in the presence of a real Guru. Many spiritual paths and masters use the technique of direct transfer of consciousness or at least energy. This is not only pertaining to the Datta tradition. Great Shaktipat happens in the presence and energy field of a true master. Introversion, silence of mind and surrender is a must, in a disciple, to attain it. An agitated and questioning mind, ego, analysis etc will close the doors of your receptivity. Just the master’s presence, look, eye contact let alone touch, will deliver what the disciple needs. It is like water flowing spontaneously from a hill to a lower land. In the presence of a true master, saktipat constantly happens. There is no need to get stuck with the word “Shaktipat”. Call it merger of consciousness, energy transfer, or cleansing energy or whatever you like. Words have lesser meaning in this context and effect is more important. Indeed, Datta tradition believes in Shaktipat or purification by a Master. A True Master can deliver Shaaktipat and all those whom he has empowered can also deliver saktipat. When those initiated take it lightly, or lose their purity, or mis-use it let alone scandalize it, the Siddhi comes back to the Master. Initiation into Shaktipat is just like re producing oneself in another. The initated has to become the initiator to perform, while delivering it. As I said, purity is very important and mixing and experimenting it with other methods, does not help. It even takes away the effect of Shaktipat.
A true master can deliver Shaktipat where ever the disciple is, irrespective of their physical proximity. Shaktipat can be delivered by a True Master through his third eye, look or touch. There are many occasions, in some paths, where Shaktipat, energy transfers, or initiations are done in waist-deep water, near fire, or even naked in burial grounds. In some method, depending on the level of blockage of a disciple, Masters deliver shaktipat straight at the Mooladhara chakra, or the space between the scrotum and anus, to jump start the dormant energy. These can be done only by True Masters who know exactly what they are doing. Otherwise, the blockage will get transfered to the one who performs it, which could be quite traumatic and binding.There are many methods. This is only for the academic interest that I have mentioned here. Mis-using of such powers will take it away from the user. It needs extreme internal purity, to deliver with perfection. In Datta tradition, the compassionate Masters remove many karmic blockages of all those who approach them through even a glance, applying vibhooti on their third eye, or by aashirvaad or through touch. It does change the consciousness of the receiver. It removes blockages existing in their system since life times.
Q: People hesitate to feed the poor and hungry, but they shower their riches at the feet of Gurus and in some temples. I cannot understand this. Why is God so cruel?
Ans: You are talking about people and why do you drag God into this arguement? Leave God alone. He is truth. He is compassion. He is benevolence. But, He allows you to choose your character, habits and constitution, and allows you to be natural. Has He ever interfered with your ugliest of thoughts? So, God is objective and impartial.
Now, people give money only for purposes that will benefit them in some way. Every investment has an expectation behind it. They want salvation, redemption from their sins, marriage of their daughter, removal of a damaging partner, so on and so forth. They approach Gurus and temples for this purpose. They give money there. True Gurus and Gods need no money. This is ideally recycled back into the society for the benefit of the poor and the hungry. This is the grand collaboration. Gurus and Gods collect the money offered at their feet and they deliver it back to the ailing mass, and use it for the betterment of the poor, needy and hungry, for the birds and animals etc. If this works this way, it is beautiful. Sometimes, greed interferes and the Gurus use it for expressing personal pomposity. They fall. When selfishness takes root, people fall, irrespective of their social standing. We have seen it happening all around us, many times over. Hope you understood this concept clearly.
Wish You the highest awareness.
Wish You Peace and Love,