Guru and Disciple

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The guru is God Himself manifesting in a personal form to guide the aspirant. The grace of God takes the form of the guru. To see the guru is to see God. The guru is united with God. He inspires devotion in others and his presence inspires all. The guru is a link between the individual and the immortal. He is a being who has raised himself from this to That and thus has free and unhampered access into both realms. He stands, as it were, upon the threshold of immortality and, bending down, he raises the struggling individuals with one hand, while with the other he lifts them up into the imperium of everlasting joy and infinite truth-consciousness.

Guru is the door to liberation, but it is the aspirant who has to enter through it. The guru is a help, but the actual task of practical spiritual practice falls on the aspirant himself.

A disciple is one who follows the instructions of the guru to the very letter and who propagates the teachings of the guru to less evolved souls on the path until the end of his life.

A true disciple is concerned only with the divine nature of the guru, the guru's actions as man not being his concern. He is totally oblivious of it. To him the guru is guru, even if he acts unconventionally. Always remember that the nature of a saint is unfathomable. Judge him not. Measure not his divine nature with the inadequate yardstick of your ignorance. Criticize not your guru's actions which are based on universal vision.

True discipleship opens the vision and kindles the spiritual fire. It awakens the dormant faculties. It is most necessary in one's journey along the spiritual path. Guru and disciple become one. The guru blesses, guides and inspires the disciple. He transmits his spiritual power to him. He transforms and spiritualizes him.