16 July, Toronto, Canada – America Yatra 2019
-from Amma’s Guru Purnima message
From the moment of our birth on this earth, through all the various phases of life that we travel through, up to the very moment of our death, there is always a guru there to impart us knowledge. Our journey into the world of knowledge begins at home where we receive our first lessons from our mother and father. After that, throughout our life, we have so many gurus.
Knowledge is light; ignorance is darkness. The day that we remember with humility and gratitude all the gurus that held our hand and led us from the world of darkness into the world of light is Guru Purnima. But most of the gurus in this category are those give their students information regarding the ever-changing world and its objects. They don’t have the ability to give their students true knowledge about the world or the real nature of the Self.
Attaining knowledge about the external world is merely gathering information. On the other hand, knowledge of the true essence of the world and our Self is knowledge born of discernment; that is the rise of true knowledge. The first type of knowledge continuously changes. The second type is the permanent and eternal truth. As disciples, the guru holds our hand and guides us into the world of that knowledge that is the source of all other knowledge.
The guru-disciple relationship exists in all spheres of life. But the spiritual guru-disciple relationship is incomparable. It is the greatest and purest of all relationships. It is the disciple’s love, devotion and faith in the guru that maintains that purity and greatness. The spiritual guru is detached and ever liberated—devoid of ego and likes and dislikes. Yet, the guru is also the embodiment of limitless compassion and patience. This compassion and patience keep the disciple close to the guru. This doesn’t mean that the guru will forgive all the disciple’s indiscretions.
A self-realized being has two facets—that of a mother and that of a guru. In this Kali Yuga, they are forced to stick to their mother aspect over that of the guru. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to uplift the disciple. This is why Amma often says, “Here, there are no disciples, only a mother and her children.” The guru is within the disciple. But in order for the disciple to awaken the guru, the disciple first must awaken the guru within the realized being. But in Kali Yuga, if the guru truly manifests, only those with sincere dispassion and intent of the goal will be able to hold on. This is why Amma gives more importance to the mother aspect. It is like giving anesthesia before surgery. Only a mother can compassionately forgive and tolerate all her children’s mistakes. This may not be possible for the guru. Just as Nature requires us to abide by her laws, certain rules and traditions need to be followed in the presence a guru. Mother Nature forgives all her children’s mistakes. But after a certain limit, she starts warning man’s ego by sending strong warnings.
When the guru tries to break the hard shell of the disciple’s ego, it can be painful. The disciple has fallen in love with his ego, nurturing it, thinking, “This is the truth.” But the guru knows the real truth—the truth that there is an enormous tree hiding within the shell of the small seed. In order for the tree to break free, the shell of the ego must break open. But for this to happen, the disciple must cooperate. If a patient kicks and screams, how can any surgery be done? And even if a surgery is attempted, it will never succeed. This is why the doctor administers anesthesia. Similarly, the guru’s love and affection are the anesthesia given prior to the surgery for saving us from samsara—the disease of the delusion that we are separate from God.
In the olden days, when disciples would live with the guru during their schooling, the scriptures would be taught to them in detail. So, spiritual life wasn’t so difficult for them. Before jumping in those waters, they already knew the basics of swimming. Thus, the guru would only have to watch them from a distance. One only really knows swimming, when they can stay afloat in deep water. If we don’t how, we can drown. The disciples of the past would already know how to swim—just not how to stay afloat in deep water. So, the guru would just have to be like a lifeguard, making sure they didn’t drown.