Chakra Discussions

An effective Guru empowers the analytical disciple

by Sridhar Raman

Posted January 8, 2004

Rasi Priya dasi implicitly suggests that, if we were to evaluate the guru-disciple relationship, it might become "just like profit and loss in a business world."

The relationship the disciple has with one's guru is of two types. One, the productive and empowering type, fosters growth by encouraging and facilitating independent thinking and problem solving, and respects ego boundaries. On the other hand, the unproductive and disempowering type fosters dependency and encourages one to shirk responsibility for one's life.

Sometimes, a relationship could start on a right basis but later on slip into relationship pitfalls, thus making it unproductive. Therefore, it becomes necessary regularly to step back and critically look at the nature of one's relationship with the guru.

This is discrimination, a much-needed quality for a devotee, in a world riddled with falsities and half-truths. This is different from the profit-calculating mentality where one sees and uses everyone and everything as a means for furthering selfish desires. This discrimination applies to both mundane and spiritual relationships.

"We have to train ourselves," Rasi Priya prabhu writes, "to see our guru as a representative of Lord Krishna. . . ."

The disciple receives guidance from the guru for both the theory and the practical application of philosophy. Guru is a role. The role of the guru is this personal involvement in guiding the disciple to realize his potential using his own nature and abilities.

The disciple experiences spiritual growth as a result of such guidance. This experience is what makes the disciple gain respect and feel a sense of gratitude for the guru. This is what would make one see the guru as the representative of the Lord. It is not that the guru does nothing and I "train" myself by chanting incessantly or through auto-suggestion or by beating my mind with broomstick and slippers in order to be able to see the "hidden glories" of my guru.

"All pure devotees have a very good relationship to their guru," she continues, "and they respect their guru maharaja very much." That is because of what they gained from their masters, and not through an artificially cultivated vision that doesn't meet the reality check of one's present situation.

Arjuna was confused and in illusion before the battle of Kurukshetra. The guidance from his Guru helped clear all his doubts and empowered him to serve the will of the Lord gloriously, using his warrior nature.

Pariksit Maharaja had a week to realize the purpose of his existence before his impending death. The guidance from his guru helped him in his spiritual search. If the guidance one receives from the guru is of an empowering nature, as in these examples, the respect and reverence come automatically.

"Only one person can guide us . . ." Rasi Priya prabhu concludes, "our guru maharaja." Her statement is correct when applied for diksa guru as there is only one diksa guru possible for a person, but one may receive guidance from many fronts. This is a practical consideration and is in accordance with the Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy that one may have many siksa gurus.