Why does a genuine disciple follow his Guru's directives without any doubt?

(The Blog  is reverently for all the seekers of truth, lovers of wisdom and   to share the Hindu Dharma with others on the spiritual path and also this is purely  a non-commercial blog)

Why does a genuine disciple follow his Guru's directives without any doubt?




1. The desire for Liberation (mumukshutva)

‘Although the Guru initiates one preaching, “You are That Brahman yourself” yet one has to live discriminating reality from mere illusion (vivek) because the Guru’s teaching is merely for the convenience of the spiritual discipline. Ultimately without the disciple’s intense desire he cannot get liberated from worldly life (jivanmukti). Saying, ‘शिष्‍य प्रज्ञेव केवलं: ’ Bhagvan Shri Krushna told Arjun, “After assimilating all My teachings become aware of your own shortcomings, that is with the help of My teachings make a resolve and liberate yourself from worldly life.” Among the four fold spiritual practices realising what is eternal and perishable (nityanityavastuvivek), detachment (vairagya), controlling physical and psychological factors (shamadishatsampatti) and intense desire for Liberation (mumukshutva), the last that is, intense yearning for realisation of God is considered to be the main spiritual practice (Vedantashastra, Brahmasutras - A. 1). No matter how much a woman decks herself up with jewellery, etc. if she is a widow then will it suit her? Similarly even if a seeker has the other three qualities except yearning for Liberation then it is useless.’ - H.H. Kane Maharaj, Narayangaon

2. Obeying the Guru’s directives

This is the monarch of all the virtues of a disciple.

2.1 Do not analyse the Guru’s directives

A disciple may not be aware of the motive behind the Guru’s directives yet he is certain that whatever the Guru advises has a benevolent purpose. That is why a genuine disciple of the Absolute Truth carries out the Sadguru’s orders without a hint of doubt. When the Guru tells him, ‘Chant The Lord’s Name’ he does accordingly without doubting the usefulness of doing so. Ambu chanted continuously for seven days and nights because His Guru had advised Him to chant The Lord’s Name continuously. As a result, He attained Self-realisation and became Amburao Maharaj. Even if one disagrees with the Guru initially one should follow His directives and then ask the reason for them. If the Guru says, ‘Go back to your parents and obey them’ then one should do so without feeling hurt. One should not think ‘the Guru is driving me away from Him and back to my parents’ or ‘returning to my parents is all a part of the Great Illusion (Maya)’, etc. When the Guru advises one to go, there must be some intention behind that. Viththalpant, Saint Dnyaneshvar’s father had renounced the world but his Guru told him, “Become a householder again” because the Guru wanted to bless the world with Saint Dnyaneshvar.

2.2 Benefits

A. One should obey the Guru without using one’s intellect. Then one does not feel worried about any task to be accomplished.
B. If one obeys everything that the Guru says then one does not make use of one’s mind or intellect. It is therefore the best means of destroying the mind, intellect and ego.
C. ‘Just as a mound of clay rests peacefully in the hands of a potter so also if one surrenders oneself unto the Guru then Shri Guru can shape one appropriately.”(1)

2.3 What is more important obeying the Guru’s directives or other duties?

‘One of Baba’s (H.H. Bhaktaraj Maharaj’s) disciples (Dr. Jayant Athavale) used to conduct workshops on Spirituality every Sunday. If it was not possible to conduct the workshop on a Sunday then he would inform everyone beforehand. When the workshop was fixed on one Sunday, Baba summoned him to Indore. Since it was not possible to convey the message of cancellation of the workshop to the thirty or forty people who attended the workshop he was perplexed about how to cancel it at the last moment. Even so he immediately started out for Indore cancelling the workshop. When he reached Indore, Baba asked him, “Have you informed the people attending the workshop that you had to come to Indore because your Guru summoned you?” When he replied in the affirmative Baba said, “From this those attending the workshop will learn a lot more than what they would have learnt at the workshop.”

2.4 Obeying the Guru’s directives and the intellect

A. One should not use one’s own intellect in obeying the Guru’s directives
·         One disciple (Dr. Jayant Athavale) had an eighty-six year old father and a seventy-six year old mother. Both had suffered from three to four heart attacks. For two consecutive years Baba was telling him to bring his parents to Indore. The disciple used to feel that his parents would not be able to withstand the journey. Thus, he was using his own intellect. In 1990, when Baba told him to bring his parents to Narsobavadi for Gurupournima he arranged for their tickets, at once. He did not think, “There will be a huge crowd of three to four thousand people and they will have to wait for three to four hours in a queue just to pay their respects to Baba. Will they be able to cope all this?” He left it all to Baba. Baba took good care of them and then said, “You took the right decision of bringing them here”.’ (2)
·         ‘One Saturday night at 10 o’clock a perfume vendor who always offered Baba perfume came to pay homage (darshan) to Baba. Since he did not have the perfume that Baba wanted he affectionately told Baba, “Baba, tomorrow being a holiday the shops will be closed and the perfume that You want will not be available. But I have another good perfume at home which was ordered for someone else. I will bring that for You.” He returned with the perfume and handed it over to Baba to smell the fragrance. Suddenly Baba was enraged and ordered someone to sprinkle ten drops each of the perfume in the toilet and the bathroom. The other seeker did accordingly. The vendor too being a disciple neither felt angry nor dejected. He would be obeying the directives of the Guru if he were to tell Baba that the perfume He desired was not available and remained quiet or if he had tried to procure it within a day or two and then presented it to Baba or sent it to Him; if He was out of town by then. Bringing a similar perfume using his intellect was a mistake. Hence, Baba ordered it to be sprinkled in the toilet and the bathroom.’ (3)
B. Obeying the Guru better by using one’s intellect: If the Guru says, ‘Do ritualistic worship (puja)’ and the disciple performs it in a progressively better way using his intellect then it not only amounts to obedience but also pleases the Guru.
    Once Baba told a disciple, “When you visit Goa give some offering of food (prasad) to Mr Pansare, an old devotee of mine”. When the disciple went to Mr. Pansare’s house he was told that he was admitted in the hospital. On reaching the hospital that disciple realised that Mr. Pansare was in a coma. The disciple then put a small pinch of the prasad into his mouth. When one wishes to obey the Guru one is automatically guided by one’s intellect to act as per the situation. Any other person would have perhaps handed over the prasad to someone at Mr. Pansare’s residence and returned giving Maharaj’s message. That would have been just like running an errand.

2.5 The Guru’s question, wish and order are all one and the same

‘Once at Kandli, Baba asked one of His disciples (Dr. Jayant Athavale), “Could you go by car to Narayangaon and fetch some vegetables?” For a moment the disciple thought “could you go” means that he had an option. Why should he go to buy vegetables leaving Baba when he had come to the ashram to be in His company? But at once it occurred to him that His question, wish and order are all one and the same and so he replied in the affirmative. Baba then said, “I expected just this from you”.’ (4)

2.6 Obedience of the Guru’s orders occurring automatically

After one reaches a spiritual level of 70% or so there is nothing left in life to be done for oneself. So the disciple starts behaving according to the Guru’s directives.

2.7 Penetration of the Adnya chakra

‘According to the path of Yoga after intense and strenuous penances are performed over a prolonged period the Adnya chakra is penetrated but only after penetration of the Muladhar, Svadhishthan, Anahat and Vishuddha chakras. However, by obeying the directives of the Guru, penetration of the Adnya chakra occurs directly bypassing all these chakras.’(5)

2.8 The secret of obeying the Guru’s orders

The strength behind obeying the Guru’s directives lies in the very order. The Guru does not tell one something which is not possible for one to do. Although externally it appears that the directives cannot be obeyed, the Guru Himself gives one the strength to obey His directives.

2.9 The steps in obeying the Guru’s directives

A. Doing whatever the Guru says.
B. Perceiving the Guru’s wishes and fulfilling them accordingly.

2.10 The consequences of not following the Guru’s directives

The one who does not obey the Guru enters the dreadful
rourav region of hell*,
He becomes a resident of Yama’s region (hell)
and undergoes continuous suffering there. 15:22
The one who does not obey the Guru enters the dreadful
rourav region of hell.
He is not far from sin and he always remains a pauper.- 40:75
                                                                 - Shri Gurucharitra

* The worst region of hell is referred to as the rourav region.

2.11 Examples

‘Once Sage Dhoumya asked His disciple Aruni to water the crops in the field. On reaching there, Aruni realised that since the water was flowing away the crops were deprived of it. He attempted to dam the flow with stones, but due to the force of the current the dam would not hold. Finally he lay down on the ground between the two banks of the dam and thus blocked the flow of the water. As a result, all the crops began to receive water.’- Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 16.
‘To follow his Guru’s order a Shudra named Parvateshvar cut off the entire harvest of jowar crop not heeding the opposition of his wife and children. (Later the crop which was cut off grew in abundance and manifold more of jowar was harvested).’ - Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 47

3. Belief, faith, spiritual emotion (bhav) and devotion (bhakti)

‘A quote “ विश्वसेदविश्वस्‍ते विश्वस्‍तेऽपि  विश्वसेत्‌ ”, means that not only should one not trust an untrustworthy person but one should also not trust even a trustworthy one. As against this, “One should have complete faith in the Guru’s words” is another quote. Ultimately what should one do? Belief is of two types, one arising out of respect and the second out of friendship. The trust developed in one’s parents due to one’s own weakness in the beginning is of the first type, while belief in others for the acquisition of greater strength despite having strength in oneself is of the second type. If the infant does not trust its mother then it will be handicapped. In the same way in Spirituality the disciple is like an infant without the guidance of the Guru. Hence, one needs to have belief of the first type. “One should have intense faith in the Guru” is a belief of the first type. On the other hand while planning worldly assignments one needs to have belief of the second type. Quotes like “ विश्वसेत्‌” meaning “Do not trust”, etc. refers to the second type of belief.’
Belief is developed through verbal information while faith develops from spiritual experiences (anubhutis). There is a saying,‘There is God where there is spiritual emotion (bhav)’ but there is no such saying as ‘There is God where there is faith’. Then what is spiritual emotion? Spiritual emotion lies in between faith and devotion. One who is not separate (vibhakta) is a devotee (bhakta). This is a state of non-duality (advait). Devotion (bhakti) is the energy which ends this separation. The components of spiritual emotion which convert faith into devotion are as follows.
The component
The amount %
1. Gratitude
2. Service
3. Spiritual love (priti) i.e.
    love without expectation
4. Bliss (Anand)
5. Serenity (Shanti)
6. Others
Out of these, the first three components that is gratitude, service and spiritual love are a part of spiritual practice whereas the next two, that is Bliss and Serenity are the results of spiritual practice. The Bliss one experiences when the eight sattvik emotions (ashtasattvik bhav) are aroused is because Bliss is an ingredient of each one of them. The first three components especially gratitude to the Guru are constantly essential. Only then can one obtain the spiritual experiences of Bliss and Serenity constantly.
Intellect is definitely not a component of spiritual emotion. Hence, spiritual emotion is always simple in nature. Minor incidents like the one regarding a wedding invitation illustrate whether a person has any spiritual emotion and if so to what extent.
·         Those without spiritual emotion: As is the custom they write the Name of Ganapati or the family deity on the wedding invitation.
·         Those with spiritual emotion: They write ‘By the grace of the Guru we have the pleasure of inviting you to the wedding of our son/daughter..........’.
·         Those who have merged with the Guru’s mission completely: In addition to point above, they conclude the invitation by writing ‘yours........(name), name of the Guru’s organisation (e.g. Sanatan Sanstha)’.
Those with a lot of spiritual emotion write the Guru’s name or the name of His organisation on their house, all the items in the house such as utensils, etc.
A disciple continuously chants the mantra imparted
by the Guru day and night.
He knows no lore other than his Guru’s quotes.

A devotee of the Guru believes that the water
which has been touched by the Guru’s feet
no matter how it is, contains the holy water
of the entire universe and that it is superior to
all the holy waters.

If a seeker suddenly obtains the leftovers of the holy
sacrament of food (prasad) partaken by the Guru
then in comparison to this achievement
he does not aspire even for the
superconscious state (samadhi).

The seeker receives the dust particles
which fly off behind the Guru as He walks,
onto his head and considers himself fortunate
to be blessed with Supreme Bliss.
               - Shri Bhavarthdipika (Shri Dnyaneshvari) 13:446-450
मंत्रे तीर्थे देवे व्‍दिजे दैवज्ञे भेषजे गुरौ 
यादृशी भावना यस्‍य सिद्धिर्भवति तादृशी ।।
Meaning: One gets the benefit from a mantra, holy water offering (tirtha), God, a Brahman (priest), an astrologer, a physician and a Guru depending on one’s faith in them.
From the mantras and holy water offering,
Brahman, deity, spiritual practice and medicine
one gets results according to one’s faith.
Similarly by considering the Guru to be
The Supreme God (Shiv), one gets His full blessings.
                                        - Shri Gurucharitra 40 : 49

3.1 Do not harbour doubt after offering everything to the Guru

On 2nd October 1995 after paying homage (darshan) to Baba He said, “Doctor (Dr. Jayant Athavale) you have given everything except your ‘self ’.” Since in today’s times some require to do spiritual practice adopting the warrior attitude to destroy evil (Kshatradharma) thoughts in that direction that is, of spreading that spiritual practice were arising in Dr. Athavale’s mind. Since these thoughts were contrary to the usual ones that is of chanting The Lord’s Name, being in holy company (satsang), service to God (satseva), the stance of a spectator (sakshibhav), etc. He felt that He was drifting away from Baba. On 8th October 1995 at Indore, He confided in Baba about these thoughts regarding the warrior attitude (Kshatradharma) and asked Him the meaning of His statement. Baba said, “If chanting The Lord’s Name is combined with spiritual practice with the warrior attitude then that too is appropriate. The fact, that you considered the thought on the warrior attitude to be your own, means that you have not surrendered your ego.” So after all, it was Baba Himself who had suggested that thought!

3.2 Fearlessness

How one develops fearlessness due to faith in the Guru is illustrated by the following examples.
·         A seeker working as a government official in Mumbai was threatened with murder by members of a political party when investigating the functioning of an organisation. Once, during the enquiry he said to a hundred and fifty workers creating an uproar, “You cannot scare me. My Guru is capable of protecting me. I will die only when the time comes for me to die. If I am destined to die at your hands; then so shall it be. But till then, I will not fail in my duties.”
Many a saint visited this seeker’s office for their personal work. At that time, he would get up from his chair and pay obeisance to Them by placing his head on Their feet. As a seeker, he would guide Them as far as possible. But if anybody spoke arrogantly to him he would behave sternly like a government official. If anyone tried to show off his energy or supernatural powers (siddhis) he would ask the security guards to turn him out of the office.
·         Hundreds of Hindus and Muslims were killed in the horrifying riots in Mumbai in 1993. At that time Swami Parmanand with His matted hair locks tied in a bun, sporting a long beard and the usual sadhu’s attire went to visit an acquaintance in the Muslim locality. When asked whether he was not scared, He replied, “When my Guru is capable of protecting me, why need I fear?”

3.3 Illustrations

A. Some examples from the Gurucharitra:
     ‘When Shri Guru asked a Brahman lady to milk an infertile buffalo she began milking it with intense faith and the buffalo yielded milk in abundance.’ - Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 22
     ‘Due to the faith in his Guru obeying His directives, a Brahman named Narahari afflicted with leprosy watered a dried twig of the oudumbar (holy fig) tree for four years. Inspite of people labelling him as insane, he persisted in his act. Later the twig sprouted leaves and Narahari too was cured of leprosy.’ - Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 40
B. Once when a disciple of Samarth Ramdas Swami was walking on a road, he saw the aged parents, wife and children of a young man, the sole bread winner of the family, grieving over his dead body. Full of compassion he sprinkled some water on the corpse uttering ‘Rama, Rama’. He thus came back to life. When the disciple related the incident to Saint Samarth, He slapped the disciple on the face and said “Why did you call out to Rama twice? Did you not have faith that Rama would respond to your first call?”
C. Once a disciple named Ambadas was told by Samarth Ramdas Swami to perch himself at the end of a branch of a tree and then to cut it towards the trunk. With full faith in the Guru he set out on this task. On cutting the branch he fell into a well below the tree. Three days later Samarth asked him, “Are you all right?” He replied, “By Your grace I am alright.” Then Samarth brought him out of the well and renamed him ‘Kalyan’.
D. ‘To a disciple who had injured his leg the Swami said, “Your foot was swollen yet you walked. You were in pain yet you ignored it. Thus, if one ignores happiness and unhappiness, one will experience The Supreme God. If one clutches onto sorrow, it increases all the more. You walked; because you had trust (faith) in Me. Otherwise you would not have walked this much. That is why one needs a Guru. Though your leg is injured you will soon feel better. Do not worry.” Speaking thus, the Swami departed.’(6)
E. On a Monday in the month of Shravan (according to the Hindu lunar calendar) Baba went with a disciple to the temple of Omkareshvar. There, He handed over a bel leaf to the disciple and asked him to offer it to the deity, Omkareshvar. There and then in the temple itself, he offered it upon Baba’s head.
Bhuranand Maharaj:
Your parents will go to heaven
The disciple            :
Will they really go?
Bhuranand Maharaj:
Now that you asked me this, they
will not go; because you do not
believe in your Guru.
G. A disciple married a girl without even approving of her just because Baba told him to marry her. After the wedding, he realised that she was afflicted with leucoderma. Even so, he did not blame Baba for asking him to marry her; because he had faith in Him. (The wife was a devotee of Sai Baba even before marriage. It was when she had gone to Shirdi that this disciple had gone to ask Baba whether he should marry this girl and Baba had replied in the affirmative.)
H. Entrusting everything to the Guru: A thirty-five year old spinster was asked by her Guru, “If you wish to get married, I shall make a resolution (sankalpa) and you will get married in six months.” She replied, “You only decide what is essential for my spiritual progress getting married or remaining single.”
I. A letter from a Guru to a disciple: ‘I am unable to protect you since you do not believe in My Omniscience and Omnipotence.’

4. The one sacrificing everything

A. Initially, it is not possible to sacrifice everything, all at once. It is possible only gradually as one makes spiritual progress. The noteworthy point here is that if one is destined to be rich due to merits acquired in one’s past births, one will definitely be so. Since the Guru has no desire for anything from the Great Illusion (Maya), He does not accept the money offered by a disciple. So it remains with the disciple. In such a situation the disciple should spend the money purposefully harbouring the spiritual emotion that ‘This is the Guru’s money’.
     The amount of money offered to the Guru is not important but not keeping any money for oneself is. For instance, an offering of ten thousand rupees by one who has a saving of one lakh rupees is far inferior to one offering his entire saving of fifty rupees.
     ‘Is not offering everything to the Guru contradictory to a (Guru’s) renunciant’s lifestyle? If the Guru is detached then what will He do by taking everything from the disciple? One who has actually experienced this will not get such doubts as he observes his destiny as a spectator. But to those who have not experienced this we reply that even if the disciple sacrifices everything, is it necessary that the Guru should use all that? If one considers the possibility that ‘the Guru is a shrewd householder who asks the disciple to offer everything to him’ He too must have offered everything to his own Guru. If this is the tradition according to the Vedas just like any other dealing, why then should one view it with scorn?’(7)
B. The more one sacrifices one’s intellect, the more one uses the universal intellect, that is the more the disciple merges himself in the Guru.
C. Normally, deserting one’s wife and children amounts to sin. However, if one leaves them and goes to the Guru, it is not a sin. On the contrary, it assists one in going beyond sins and merits. In 1993, Gurupournima celebrations were held in Goa. One day prior to it, in the evening there was a quarrel between Mr. and Mrs. Bhagat. Mr. Bhagat said, “Why such a fuss about Gurupournima? I am leaving for home, at once.” Mrs. Bhagat replied, “You may go if you wish, but I will not accompany you.” The husband then packed his bags and left. He returned in a short while saying, “I was just testing you.” God alone knows the truth! Later, when we asked whether she was not scared about what would happen if he really deserted her, Mrs. Bhagat replied that at that moment it did not matter to her even if he divorced her, but she was determined to remain by the Guru’s side.
D. ‘When Shabar could not find human ashes even after a search of seven days, Shabari his wife told him, “Burn me and use those ashes for the ritualistic worship (puja) of the linga”. A linga is a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva. When this was done Lord Shiva brought her back to life.’ - Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 40.

5. The one who does not think of the offerings he has made

‘Once in Dandi in the Indian state of Gujarath a businessman offered a bundle of five rupee notes (worth five hundred rupees) to Baba when He was bathing in a river. Annoyed with this Baba asked him, “Is this the time to offer money?” and hurled the bundle into the river. The businessman was awestruck. Then Baba told him, “Since you have offered me the money I will do whatever I wish with it - throw it in the water, burn it up or spend it on eatables. But this should not create doubt in your mind. Once you offer it to me; you should realise that it is like throwing the money into the river from a running train. Now the river will decide what is to be done with that money!”(8)

6. Humility

·         ‘Dinkar (H.H. Bhaktaraj Maharaj) never sat in front of his Guru.
·         When with the Guru, Dinkar would stand in a corner awaiting the Guru’s orders. ( He never tried to impress his Guru!)
·         Dinkar always gazed at his Guru’s feet or at the ground. Later when speaking on this Baba (Guru) would say, “A servitor should never look into his Master’s (Guru’s) eyes. That is why I always looked at His feet. Inspite of that I could see Saish’s face clearly.”
·         Dinkar never asked the Guru anything. He only knew that the Guru should command him and he should obey those commands.’(9)
·         One views people as per their ability, so let us see a great example,

Water accumulates in a crater in the earth But flows away from a mound.
                                                                - Shri Gurucharitra 3 : 32

Intense devotion is like a crater, while the hypocrites are like a mound.
It is for this very reason that one should surrender one’s
mind, speech and actions to Shri Guru, with determination.
                                                               - Shri Gurucharitra 3 : 33


‘The Disciple’, published by Sanatan Sanstha.
[1] Siddhabodh. First edition - Gurupournima 1985, pg. 5. Publishers : Gagangiri Publishers, 4, Nalanda Kalpataru Society, Mahant Cross Road, Vile Parle (East), Mumbai.
The Teachings of Saint Bhaktaraj. Second edition :
H.H. Shrimat Sadguru Bhaktaraj Maharaj’s Platinum jubilee celebrations, Magh Shukla Navami, Shake 1916 (9th February 1995), Indore. Compilers : Dr. Jayant Balaji Athavale, Dr. (Mrs.) Kunda Jayant Athavale. Publishers : Sanatan Bharatiya Sanskruti Sanstha, Mumbai.
[2]. Pg. 187         [3]. Pg. 174         [4]. Pg. 187
[5]. Pg. 62           [8]. Pg. 107

Sadhubodh: Shri Gulabrao Maharaj Virachit Prashnottaratmak Sukti Ratnavali. Ashtamayashti. Publishers : Shri Dnyaneshvar Madhuradvait Sampradayik Mandal, Dahisath, Amravati.
[6]. Pg. 47

[7]. Swami Shri Loknathtirtha Charitra. Pg. 504. Author : Achyut Siddhanath Poòbhare. Publishers : H.H. Shri Vasudevanand Sarasvati Swami Maharaj and H.H. Shri Loknathtirtha Swami Maharaj Memorial Trust Publishers, Shri Vasudev Nivas, 42/17 Karve Road, EranÅvane, Pune 4.
[9]. The Teachings of H.H.Shrimat Sadguru Bhaktaraj Maharaj. First edition, Mahashivratri, 10th March 1994. Compilers : Dr. Jayant Balaji Athavale, Dr. (Mrs.) Kunda Jayant Athavale. Publishers: Sanatan Bharatiya Sanskruti Sanstha, Mumbai


Om Tat Sat

(My humble salutations to Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Jagruti for the collection)

(The Blog  is reverently for all the seekers of truth, lovers of wisdom and   to share the Hindu Dharma with others on the spiritual path and also this is purely  a non-commercial blog)


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