INSTRUCTION TO THE DISCIPLE
Satsang by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
There is a state or experience a little beyond the mind in which you can see a person or an object that you love very much. You can materialize them on your inner plane of awareness as clearly as reality. This happens when your consciousness is raised. Then the image appears and becomes clear, in this elevated state you can see the guru just as if you were sitting in front of him and he was talking to you.
The disciple should be able to develop this awareness. Then he does not need the Guru physically at all. There is no difference between that state of awareness and physical contact. It is exactly the same. In fact, that state of awareness may even be more tangible than the ordinary one. If you can visualize or feel me in moments of solitude, that is far more fulfilling and satisfying than communicating with this physical form. You can try.
Develop this awareness by practising a little everyday, for half an hour to an hour. Once in a month, once in a week or once in a day, practise this. Develop the inner awareness. Have communion with your guru, inner communion. That is more potent and real than the outer one. You will know it after practising a few times. It is not unreal. Perhaps this seems real and that unreal, but it is only because that is a higher awareness.
You must understand that physical distance is not mental distance. Mental distance is not emotional distance and emotional distance is not spiritual distance. What is 60,000 kilometres physically may be nothing in the mind. The mind does not work through the physical plane; it has another mode of travelling. The mental distance is called a field, just as there is an electromagnetic field or radioactive field. In yoga it is called a loka.
There is another principle that must be understood: guru and disciple may appear to be two, but in truth they are one. The duality is only an illusion. There is one energy flowing in guru and disciple. The bodies are two, but the energy is one. And if guru and disciple are one, where is the difficulty in communication? This is the principle and philosophy which one has to realize. In quantum physics they don't even accept that there are two bodies. They say that the difference is an illusion, the experience that you are having is not true; it is only an experience.
So disciples should first of all understand the true philosophy of their relationship with the guru. You must come to the conclusion: 'I and my guru are one'. When you practise higher spiritual practices, this truth must be ingrained in your mind. Duality is a path, non-duality is the only truth. Guru and disciple do live in their bodies, but .the energy in them is the same; therefore, distances do not matter at all. My disciples can always communicate with me, they only need to dial.
The relationship between guru and disciple is very difficult to explain. You may go to a teacher and learn yoga from him; that is one kind of discipleship. It is an academic relationship. You may receive a mantra from somebody and become his disciple, and that ends the matter. Or you may receive sannyasa from somebody, he becomes your guru and you are his disciple, and that ends the matter. But when you want to tread the spiritual path and amplify your spiritual consciousness, when you want to see the inner light, then you must have a definite relationship with a guru and that relationship is very, very intense. Cold or lukewarm relationships will not do on this path. There has to be intensity, more intensity than the relationship between mother and child, more intensity than the relationship between two passionate beings. The awareness has to be total; just a little awareness is not enough. By the intensity of your relationship with guru, a link is formed between you and him. Go to your office and the guru is with you. You sleep at night, he is there. You eat and he is there. He is always with you. That is the relationship between guru and disciple.
To experience this relationship, first of all you must completely accept your guru and know that you are to be controlled by him at every moment. Sometimes he may get angry and abuse you, kick you or put you out the gate; all these things must be accepted too. The disciple is one who is always controlled by the guru, otherwise even if you work very hard in spiritual life and develop some experiences, you may return to the normal state afterwards. If the guru asks you not to sleep, to keep quiet, not to argue, you must obey without a thought or hesitation. With guru, the sadhaka disciple should have no personality; only then he can be helped. You must establish a relationship in such a way that whatever the guru says is final. There is no second word on it, no argument, analysis, judgement or afterthought. What the guru says, the disciple has to follow quietly, whether it is right or wrong. It does not matter if you make certain mistakes in your area of work because of what the guru has asked you to do. If you are working in the kitchen and he says, "Keep the wheat outside", and then ten bags of wheat are destroyed by rain, it does not matter. It may be a material loss, but it is a spiritual gain because you obeyed the guru. Until such a relationship is established, the disciple should not attempt higher sadhana, otherwise he may be misguided in the inner realms.
A guru does not exploit the disciple. If the disciple has great devotion, the guru can never exploit him. Only if the disciple is selfish, can the guru exploit him. Many people say that the guru exploits disciples, but it is my experience that the guru can never exploit an unselfish disciple. The guru can only exploit a selfish disciple. An unselfish disciple, a sadhaka, never loses anything no matter what the guru asks of him because he goes on developing his higher consciousness.
The relationship between guru and disciple is not a social or religious relationship; it is a spiritual relationship. For the body you have bodily relationships; for the mind you have mental relationships; for the emotions you have emotional relationships. You have fraternal, paternal, maternal, emotional and sexual relationships. These are the bonds that keep people together and maintain a constant flow of energy between them. These relationships belong to this world. They belong to the mind, emotions and body, but what about the spirit? What about your deeper consciousness? You must have a relative with whom your spirit is linked. Guru is such a relative with whom your spirit, your inner consciousness is linked.
The relationship between guru and disciple is man's higher, ultimate and spiritual need, without which he cannot experience spiritual fulfilment. In the normal course of life, you have your experience and I have mine, but the relationship between guru and disciple is always spiritual, even if you are discussing accounts or money. Wherever you go or whatever you do, this awareness must be maintained.