Bhakti and the guru

If you have a guru then bhakti is essential. It is the essence of the relationship. Without bhakti the guru-disciple relationship cannot exist. If you have a guru and you feel no devotion, then he is not really your guru. It is better to find another one. Without bhakti, the disciple is not receptive to the instructions and vibrations of the guru and the guru is not able to transmute the gross nature of the disciple into a more subtle form. At first this devotion may be unconscious; you may not recognize it, but it must exist. There has to be a natural attraction.

The path towards perfection is difficult and hazardous. If has been aptly described as the razor’s edge: if you go too far to one side or the other you fall into the chasm of delusion. The path is straight and narrow. It is the guru who shows the disciple how to avoid or overcome obstacles and blocks. It is easy to become lost in false, unrealistic thoughts and feelings. This applies not only to bhakti yoga but all other paths as well. It is easy to become side-tracked into blind alleys. The guru must lead the way. As Kabir said ecstatically: “If the Lord and the guru were to stand in front of us at the same time, at whose feet should we prostrate ourselves? The answer is definite we should prostrate at the guru’s feet, for it is he who has shown us the Lord. This would never be but for the guru’s grace.” Such was the feeling of bhakti that Kabir had for his guru.

In the Kularnava Tantra it says: “The fire of devotion to the guru burns away all taint of bad thought.” “As steady devotion to the gum grows, so does one’s self-knowledge.” (ch: 8) Such is the power of bhakti towards gum. But this bhakti must be spontaneous. It cannot be created. In this respect it is the same as bhakti towards a deity – it must arise directly from the heart. It cannot come from mere logical analysis.

So if you have a gum, surrender all your actions and aspirations to him. Actually he does not need anything from you, but you have to offer all to him. Attend satsang with the gum2. This has been praised by scriptures throughout the world. Whenever a wise man, a saint, a yogi or any person with higher awareness is in your area, go and visit him. Or when you have time make a point of travelling to any great spiritual master. This is a method of breaking down and throwing out false concepts and dogmas. It is a method of chan-nelling your thoughts and aspirations in new directions, often at a tangent with current aspirations. It is a method of being saturated with powerful vibrations and inspiration. Such is the power of satsang.

And when you sit with any wise man or your guru, be quiet and listen, for it is he who will pull you out of the quagmire of delusion. You may be a famous person, a noisy person, a clever person, an argumentative person or whatever, but be quiet, be still and listen. Every word that the guru says is full of meaning and significance.

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