Discipleship is not proven by the quantity of love or surrender that the disciple has for his guru, but by coming into tune with the energy of his guru. That is what real discipleship is all about, because even in love and surrender we make mistakes. According to our concept, love is when two people look at each other and become starry-eyed.
That kind of love turns into hate when the two suddenly decide to look in different directions with their backs to each other. Whereas in the ideal relationship between the guru and a disciple, love is looking in the same direction, not towards each other or away from each other.
The same idea applies in relation to surrender. When love and surrender are augmented by the qualities of honesty and humility, then a connection takes place and the quality of one’s receptivity changes. For example, there might be twenty different plugs hooked into one switchboard, and they are all 5 amp plugs. It is also possible to change the 5 amps into 10, 15 or 20 amps, by changing the size of the plug, so that it can receive more power. This does not mean that the other plugs are insignificantand have no connection. It simply means that a disciple has the option to become a high voltage plug. Ultimately, this is what surrender is all about.
If guru says to us, “You be this,” and that is acceptable to our rational mind and to our self-image and self-concept, then we accept it. However, if guru tells us to change, and this change conflictswith our self-image and self-concept, then there is a reaction to the instruction of the guru. This reaction means that surrender and love are not complete. We are still looking in another direction, and are now thinking of turning away. We are not looking in the same direction. This is all a play of ego which is manifesting as ‘me’, the important one, and guru who helps me to change according to my need.
The other mentality is one of humility: “I am insignificant, change me as you deem ft.” Those disciples who allow the guru to direct their course and surrender totally to his will, to the Divine Will, to God’s Will, have a different kind of experience and interaction with God and Guru. There is the example of St Theresa, which is a well-documented case. In times of meditation, ecstasy or samadhi the signs of the stigmata would appear on her hands and feet. Such things can happen if the link is there with either an embodied soul or an impersonal energy which does not have a body, which is cosmic in nature.
Swami Satyananda, who lived with Swami Sivananda, experienced that kind of deep connection with him. This connection was even recognized by his guru brothers; it was not something which they did not recognize. They recognized and accepted it, because it was a reality. It was not just someone’s mental concept of fantasy. A scientist can recognize the achievement of another scientist, but a layman cannot.
In this respect, I also feel blessed. I personally do not know if I have surrendered or made a link. I only hear Paramahamsaji say to others, “I have given everything to Niranjanji. I do not have anything of my own now.” The firsttime he said this, I wondered, “What does he mean by that? What has he given me? His power? If he has given me his power, then I cannot feel it anywhere. Has he given me his knowledge? If he has, I cannot experience that knowledge. Has he given me this? Has he given me that?” Whatever I asked myself, the answer was, “I cannot experience it.” There was no sense of pride that, “He is saying that he has given it all to me and now I am all-powerful and ready to roll.” Rather, it made me even more thoughtful because he was saying, “I have given everything to him,” and I knew, “I do not have anything.”
That is still my position; even today I do not know what he has given me. However, he has said it so many times that now I think maybe there is some kind of a link by which he is channelling his energy and I am not aware of it, because he is doing it from his side, I am not doing it from my side. So, just as Paramahamsaji says that he feels he has made it, I can say to you today that I have made it.
Printed in YOGA, Vol. 6, Issue 1 (January 1995)