(This is a small excerpt from the series “The Guru-Disciple Relationship” by Swami Veda Bharati. It was previously published in the January 2020 edition of the AHYMSIN Newsletter.)
Gurus look for disciples. And they take them up to the point that the disciple wants to go at that given time. Beyond that, you have to make yourself felt. Not by pestering. Not by writing six-page letters. There are certain things that you have to do, and then slowly that knowledge will open to you. You do your end. It is for you to figure out what.
The relationship from the guru's side can be total, but normally it is in the degree to which you feel the relationship. And "you feel" does not mean as an emotional need. It is something much purer than that. How much of your life can you give to the guru? Go as far as you can go, and that is your relationship.
Do these things. By doing these things you will be brought closer: Serve. I mean, helping, working in whatever you feel that the need is present. Fulfilling that need, and asking nothing in return. And sooner or later, if your service and your meditation both grow, then you will be noticed. Then you will be given further guidance.
And work constantly on purifying your life - ridding yourself of unnecessary involvements, unnecessary jealousies, constantly painful, irritated, frustrated thinking. Love - Love - and purify your life. By doing these things the guru notices you.
And do your meditation. Purify your emotions. And you will come to a point where you will make your choice. When you make your choice, the guru makes his choice. Make your choice very clear. Your ordinary worldly goals are there. Make them instruments of the higher goal.
So, in your mind somewhere along the way say, "I know this one thing. I know that to be Christlike is the highest aim of a human being. To have the enlightenment of the Buddha is what really, really counts. And everything along the way I shall make an instrument."
Now, at the same time, watch your capacity. So between your goal and your capacity there has to be a balance. Work on that balance.
Be neutral to the world to your fullest maximum. By doing your fullest maximum you work your karmic momentum out. By remaining emotionally neutral you prevent further momentum from building up. So work out that momentum, but deep inside remain one, single, alone. That's one secret of life, a free life, a happy life, a fulfilled life, a successful life of liberty. No one can disturb you. Your love flows. You give, and ask nothing and have no expectations. Give what you can.
A guru will never place a disciple in a situation he cannot handle. But he must handle it with the maximum of his capacity. So he brings him to his limits, and that is how he trains him to rise, to elevate himself. When the guru puts the disciple to a test, he, at the same time, gives the disciple the strength to carry it out. There are times, literally, when he drives you to the end of your capacity, and you say, "Oh, my God, why are you doing this?" And you come to that point - to the end of your capacity, and you find that you still have a little margin more of capacity left. Move on. Then that plateau becomes your normal home. And then you say to yourself, "Ha, I've got it now. It's fine. It's good. I have arrived at this point. Isn't it nice. Good boy!" And then the guru calls on the phone and says, "Bad boy! You're doing nothing! Are you satisfied with that? Have your reached your goal now? Go on! Move!"
The further you go in these things, the more your relationship with the guru develops. Come closer. I would like to see a lot more people come closer, but I don't always see them come closer. Your aspiration is then lifted upwards. And it is said, "If you walk one step towards the guru, the guru walks four steps toward you." But for the child to be picked up, the child has to raise his hands.
There are two kinds of responsibilities you have which weigh very heavily on you: one responsibility is toward those whom one is guiding. And I must admit - very, very frankly - I have looked at myself very carefully in this area, and I have found that up until now I am still at a point where for me my responsibility toward the people I am guiding often weighs more heavily than the thought about my guru. That I am conducting this meditation on my guru's behalf. I should be good for others, the prerequisite for which is the sattvic state of mind. So I have to go. Well, it's like putting on fresh clothes to go to a party. There is no difference. Preparing oneself to conduct a meditation three hours before is no different from a newly-married bride who is at home for the first time when her husband has gone to work. And three hours before he is to come home, she sits before the mirror. You know - "Let me look nice." There is absolutely no difference. It is the same motivation.
The other responsibility is towards your guru - your guru's love for you which reflects in your heart and soul and becomes your love for him. And so you say, "I'm giving him hard work. He is working to purify me. How many hours he spends in prayer for my purification. Oh, my God, why am I having him work so?"