In this two-part series, I will discuss the confusions, questions and doubts that arose in my guru-disciple relationship with Siddhar Thirumoolar and Mahavatar Babaji, and their subsequent resolution, in hopes that it will help you resolve your own confusions and internal conflicts when it comes to your relationship with your teacher. Hopefully, this will trigger a contemplation within you to figure out, if your own relationship to your teacher is based whether on equality, mutual love and respect, or on fear, clinging and sycophantic behavior. None of the latter three leave room for mutual love and respect.
One Ancestry for All
We are all brothers and sisters having one parentage—the creator and his creative force—known by many names vishnu/lakshmi, brahma/saraswati or Siva/Sakti (See Sanskrit transliteration scheme), god/goddess, or by other names in other cultures. We are all here to learn from one another and move on our evolutionary paths on this eternal journey unique to each of us. On this journey, we come across many people and go through many experiences that teach us and impart wisdom. However, we can’t be attached to those people or experiences. If we do, then that attachment—not necessarily the people or experiences—will stagnate and confuse us on our chosen path.
Confusion and Stagnation
This is true in all fields, but especially true on our spiritual paths when it comes to our spiritual teachers. We should not become too attached or clingy to our spiritual teachers. They are our spiritual elders, our elder siblings, a part of our extended spiritual family. In fact, I see no difference between the physical and the spiritual. The physical is the manifested part of the spirit. Spiritual teachers are there to guide us, because, “They have been there and done that.” It is like our biological elders/elder siblings to whom we looked up to and emulated as children. Our elder brothers and sisters were our superheroes, the know it all and be it all people who we liked to copy to no end. This is because children learn through emulation, having a role model.
Learning by Emulation Becomes Dependency
Either consciously or unconsciously we have been learning by emulating or modeling after our elders or peers in our families and friends or those that we think are “cool!” or have respect for. However, we do not worship them or cling to them (I am sure that there are some who are clingy). We have fun in learning from others. The moment we step into the field of the spirit—spirituality—we become stiff, stop having fun and some even start looking like spiritual zombies devoid of any life in them. Some of us even become afraid of gurus and spiritual teachers. We put them on a pedestal high above and worship them. We tell ourselves, “My guru is a great enlightened master. He is all powerful,” and so on and so forth. What initially started as awe for the master, becomes fearful devotee-ship. Life becomes stifling, confusing and you become more and more dependent on your spiritual teacher for guidance in even the smallest issues in your life making you an emotional sycophant. We can see this to a lesser degree in western disciples of the eastern masters than in eastern disciples. It could be because of the cultural differences in upbringing. Nevertheless, it is prevalent in every religion and spiritual tradition east or west. A true spiritual master will tell you not to be sycophantic, but be independent—take the guidance, but make it your own path. I am not saying that you should not show devotion, trust and/or respect for your teacher. On the contrary, you must have these qualities, if you want to be successful in the spiritual path shown by your teacher. I am talking about being clingy and becoming completely dependent on your spiritual teacher and loosing the much needed discrimination on the spiritual path. Because of this loss in discrimination, you end up putting the teachers high on the pedestal and snuff out your own inner divinity, the same essential force that animates even your teacher’s form.
Higher Self Tries to Clear Doubts
Sometimes the discriminating and more expansive part of you will come up and say, “Hey! You do not have to do that. You are in essence the same as the teacher. Just learn from the teacher. Convert the lessons to experience through practice, and then absorb wisdom from that experience. Then, throw away the experience. Teacher is your role model, one who shows the path through his own example. Show respect and love, but don’t be afraid or clingy.” Then immediately that limited part of you will show up and confuse you saying, “What are you doing? You cannot do that! You cannot treat your teacher—The Enlightened Master—like that. How disrespectful! How dare you!” If you are not aware, this inner dialogue may continue to no end. The moment you bring awareness to your inner dialogue and contemplate, everything will become crystal clear.
To Be Continued …
In the next part, I will discuss my contemplation and dialogue with Siddhar Thirumoolar that cleared all my confusions about my relationship to Babaji and him, and to our source (call it God, Divine, Supreme Being or what you will).