The Guru-disciple relationship

Perth, Oct 12th 2004

Babaji entered the hall to the sweet sounds of Swamiji's Aarathi and after offering his pranams at Swamiji's altar began his discourse with the recitation of the Guru Sloka, 'Brahmanandam Paramasukhadam'...

Once again I take the opportunity to offer my unconditional surrender at the Llotus Feet of my Guru, Shivabalayogi. I pray to my Guru that everyone can become inspired to become truly devoted, to develop the faith to receive the grace of God and Guru. On the previous evenings we have talked a little about the mind and the need for its control. Tonight we will talk about the Guru-disciple relationship and that Faith which is a must. To receive the grace you need to be receptive, and to become receptive we need to develop Faith and Devotion. My Guru used to say that the Guru's Grace is always flowing, just like the wind is always blowing or the water in the river is always flowing. You need to build a dam to catch that Grace, and that dam is made of Faith and Devotion.

Even since childhood this Faith and Devotion came very easily to me, it came very automatically. At one time when I was very young, I was very attracted to one particular saint, and I found a photo of him in a shop. I bought the photo and took it home and put it on the altar in the house. One relative of mine came later and ridiculed the photo being on the altar. He said that this man was not a saint. He had heard stories about him, and said that he was just a charlatan, and not a real saint. When my mother heard these stories, she went to remove the picture from the altar, but I said, "No. Do not remove the picture. The picture is my faith. If the saint is wrong, that is not my problem. Leave the picture itself, as it is my faith. Leave my faith intact." Subsequently it was found out that the stories accusing the saint of wrong things were false, and he was revered widely as a great soul. The point is that it was about my faith, not the man himself.

Some people also just try to capitalise on shaking people's faith, for their own advantage. Some years ago, there was a politician in south India who started ridiculing about God, and saying there was no God. Swamiji wrote a letter to him saying to him, " If you don't believe about God, then come to me, and I'll show you God." The politician wrote back to Swamiji, " We respect You very much, and we do believe in God. We just said this to get peoples' votes, manipulate and get publicity."

When I had Faith, no power could affect it, no power could shake it. Even during my Tapas also, there was a test at the end. God came in front of me to test me. He said, " I have come to you because of your Tapas." Now when God comes in front of you, it is simply not possible to lie. Whatever is inside you, will simply come out of your mouth as words. God was trying to create an ego that it was my Tapas that had brought Him there. He said, " Now that I have come, you don't require your Guru anymore."

But the truth, which was inside me, simply came out of my lips, and I replied, " No. I want to be simply at the Lotus Feet of my Guru always." I felt it was Guru's Grace that had brought God, not my Tapas. God then said, "The Guru will look after you and will guide the right devotees to come to you." I sometimes think, " Why do they come? Why do they love me, when I have nothing much to offer?" It is simply their love for me, which brings them.

I saw Swamiji during His life on this earth never showing favours to people because of their status in this world. I saw Him going equally to palaces and small cottages, in big cars and small cars. It was the people's devotion, which drew Him, not their wealth. He looked for the love.

Sometimes Swamiji would tell us, "If God gets angry with you, Guru will protect you. If you have faith in Guru's name, even God can't hurt you." Sometimes He would give a terrible scolding and the tone of His voice would go very high, then suddenly it would go down quickly and His voice would be back to normal. Then instantly He would say, "Now that I've tried to find fault with everything about you, you must now be wanting to go away from here, from this ashram. But I love you, and I simply wanted to remove some previous karma from you."

In the story of Rama and Hanuman, Rama wanted to murder Hanuman - that is the word used in the story, "murder". But still Hanuman simply went on reciting Rama's name. He didn't bother. "Simply if my beloved Shri Rama wishes to kill this body - fine. No problems." He just went on reciting Rama's name.

The story goes like this. Once there was a gathering of sages and angels who all gathered together. The talk turned to the subject of Shri Rama, who was ruling over the empire of Ayodhya after His great expedition to rescue Sita from the demon Ravana. The talk turned to a debate as to which was most powerful - Shri Rama's weapons, or His name. Sage Vasishta said that Rama's name was more powerful, while Viswamitra said," I have known Rama since he was a child. If Rama himself is wielding them, then definitely His weapons are invincible." Vasistha said, " No, Rama's name is more powerful if a devotee is reciting it." So they set a test. There was a king who ruled a kingdom within the empire governed by Rama, and he was a great devotee of Shri Rama. So sage Viswamitra came to his kingdom.

Now it was a custom that when a sage came to the court, that he was welcomed with ceremonies and respect. The kings all felt it was a great blessing to have such sages in their kingdoms, as they felt it was a blessing for the whole kingdom, and so rains would come at the right time, and so on. But when Viswamitra came to the court, the king was in deep meditation on Shri Rama, and so he was not able to come and pay respects to the sage, as he would normally have done. The sage used this as an excuse and went to the Rama. He complained that the king had been disrespectful in not greeting him properly.

Rama said," Who is this fellow? As he has been disrespectful to you, I shall kill him by tomorrow evening, and I take an oath in the name of my weapons to do this." So Vishwamitra was content and went away.

Sage Narada was at the gathering, and he always plays a part in God's play and loves God's devotees. He came to the king who had been disrespectful to warn him of what had happened. The king simply replied to him, that if Shri Rama wanted to kill him then that was fine, he didn't care. Whatever Shri Rama wished to do was fine; he just wanted to go on worshipping him. Narada said, "That is not the point. There is a test here about whether Rama's weapons or His name are more powerful. You must go the Lord Hanuman who is Rama's great devotee, and you should ask Him for His protection as you are Rama's devotee, and Hanuman loves Rama's devotees. Just don't tell him at first that it is Rama who is coming to kill you."

So the king went to Hanuman and told him that someone had taken a vow to kill him by the next evening. Hanuman said, "You are a great devotee of Shri Rama. I will protect you in Rama's name. Who is this that wants to kill you?" So the king told him that it was Rama who was coming to kill him. Lord Hanuman created a fort using his own tail, and then asked the king to go inside and he would protect him there.

The next day, Rama came with his whole army, but Hanuman simply defeated them all, so in the end Shri Rama himself came in front of Hanuman. Rama told him to step aside and let Him kill the king. Lord Hanuman replied, "I'm sorry my Gurudeva, but in Your name I have said that I will protect this person. Eventually You will leave Your physical body, and as You are the only one capable of wielding these weapons of Yours, then the bows and arrows You have now will be useless. But Your Name will go on protecting devotees forever."

So it is said that when Shri Rama started firing his arrows, they simply fell down on Hanuman in the form of garlands of flowers. Then the sages came and explained that it had all just been a test to find the strength of Rama's name. Swamiji told this story often, and He said we should always remember that Guru's name will protect us always.

Faith and Devotion can see you through. When you listen to the Guru, have faith and devotion. Remember,"Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened unto you." If you meditate, you will have a beautiful life in this world. It is difficult to live in this world. Remember bad karma will always come back on you. I have seen this so often in this life. People, who have tried to cause problems to others, have always had it come back on them.

If you have sincerity and faith, then you will get the Guru's blessing, God's Grace. You will get Peace and Happiness, and your mind will be controlled. I have said in the morning session this morning, that meditation will give you both knowledge and devotion. The path of devotion is also not easy. It needs one's complete attention. If you are devoted, your attention will always be on that form which you have chosen to be devoted to, and so, for instance you will come to the daily programs. Without devotion, you cannot have dedication. This meditation is like earning money for the mind. Meditation is like earning for the future. Swamiji did 20 hours or more a day of meditation. Similarly I did 18 to 20 hours a day also. You can just do 1 hour. Then you will be adding money to your account slowly. One Indian saint was talking of Ramana Maharishi. He said, "Ramana has banked $100, while I have banked $30, so you should at least bank $5."

I don't have to even come out of the Ashram in Dehra Dun, there is everything I need there. But I'm aware of my Guru watching, so I do the work. Saint Kabir Das recites in one of his songs, "Puffed up, this mind has become puffed up and is wandering in this world like a drunken monkey. What a great magic that God has spelled. When the world gives you things, then the mind's relatives will come and sit with it. These relatives, its uncles, are stress and unhappiness. When God gives, then the relatives, who come are Peace, Happiness, Concentration, and a Pure Heart." If your attention is to God, you will get Peace. If your attention is to the world, you will get no peace.

Firm faith has always kept me on the right path. Even when I wanted to go to Swamiji's Ashram, my mother was very concerned to protect me. "What if he is not a real Yogi? What if the atmosphere of the Ashram is not conducive to you?" she would ask. I simply replied, " It doesn't matter if He's a Yogi or not. It doesn't matter if He's a saint or not. All I know is that I love Him." So that faith never varied. I just loved Him, and went to Him. People's questioning couldn't disturb me. When your faith is like this, then the Grace will have to come to you. Saint Kabir Das in another one of his songs sings:

"Guru and Govinda (God) are standing in front of me. The mind is temporarily a bit confused - to whom should the first namaskar go? But then the mind becomes clear. I shall bow to the Guru first, because it is only through the Guru that I learnt about God. "

So Swamiji used to say, "If God is angry, Guru will protect you. If Guru is angry, no-one can protect." If you have reverence, then you will practice this meditation. Meditation is hard when you are not sincere, when you have no faith, no discipline, no patience. If you have these things, meditation is easy. So be like a soldier. He practises with his weapons even when the enemy is not there. Then when the enemy comes, he is prepared. If he waits for the enemy to come, and then starts practising with the weapons, it will be too late. In the same way, if you meditate now then when the world comes to trouble you, then you will be ready for it. The mind will not be disturbed. One of the great south Indian saints said, " Now, while your body is healthy, remember God. If you wait until your body is old, it will be too late." God has given us a beautiful gift of a human body. Let us not waste it.

Later Babaji kindly responded to devotees' questions:

Question: How important is humility to a sadhak?

Babaji:Humility is very essential. It keeps ego out. If ego is strong, the sadhak tends to be in a rush, so they can't learn properly. Humility is very necessary, so the sadhak can surrender, and develop faith and devotion. If the ego is strong, the student tends to think that after they have heard something once or twice, that they know it fully. "Oh, I have heard Baba say this all before, and I have heard this already. I already understand this."  The Guru has to repeat some things very often so that they will penetrate very deeply into the mind, and they need to be repeated until all imaginations of ego and mind are gone.

Question: A small girl asked Baba what His father looked like.

Babaji: There are photos of him available. He looked a bit like me. He was very good-hearted and did a lot of charity work. When he worked as a doctor in Burma, he used to work four days a week to earn a living, then worked the other three days as charity, going on a bicycle to the villages. He worked quietly and peacefully. When I was reciting slokas and prayers he instructed me to apply the mind while reciting, don't just recite simply.
When he worked in India, he would often let people pay him later for his services, if they couldn't pay him on the day. He was good-hearted. I learnt a lot from him.


Question: The same young girl asked Baba what His mother looked like.

Babaji:  She was very beautiful; she had a fair complexion like me. Mother taught the devotional path. She was also very firm in her resolutions - for instance she encouraged me to complete my education before going into the Ashram. She said it would always be beneficial to me. She taught determination and faith, and always told stories from the scriptures of people who had faced great obstacles, but had succeeded in the end. She was a great moral support to me.


Question: There are many different ways of meditating. - watching the breath, observing candle flame or flowing water, etc. If they all result in bringing the mind to rest, how is dhyana better?

Babaji: We honour all meditation techniques. However, in such other meditation techniques, if the mind is watching a particular object or thing, then in the end it will have to abandon that thing or object, before it can then go introverted. In dhyana there is the benefit that no such object will need to be abandoned, as no object is focussed on; so on it's own the mind will go introverted.


Question: What happens to the soul when the body dies?

Babaji: The soul doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't travel; it is all-pervasive. Soul is intact, and doesn't change.
But the mind will see the next dhrishya, as we call the 'scene' in spiritual language. When the mind leaves the body, when it is withdrawn from the brain, there is temporary unconsciousness before the next scene.


Question: You said you have seen God. Is that correct?

Babaji: Yes, like I am seeing you now. The manifestation is as solid as I am seeing you now; in the same way I saw Him manifest in front of me. But that is not the end, not the recommended goal. Depending on the mind's previous resolutions, these things may happen. But you have to go beyond that, beyond the mind's thoughts and resolutions, to the thoughtless state.

Question: Why is there evil in the world?

Babaji: God is above and beyond all dualities. If there is suffering in this world, it is because we have failed to look after each other properly. We talk about peace, but we fail to practice peace. We have to look after each other; then all will be happy.


Question: What is intuition? Should we follow that intuition, or follow logic?

Babaji: There is no concrete explanation for intuition. Someone feels that an event might happen, and then it happens. It could be just coincidence. Spirituality teaches you to face the moment, not become anxious about the future. There is a natural human tendency to want to know the future. It is better to make efforts in the present to help you face things in the present.


Question: To study we need to focus. That focus is teaching us to be more spiritual. Is that true?
Babaji: Yes. If you are devoted to studying something, then the mind gets concentrated on that. Focus always gives best results in all endeavours. The mind tends to get distracted easily; meditation helps to focus that mind. If the mind's imaginations are not controlled, then the mind tends to make you dance to its tunes.
It is something like you have some money, but it is all scattered on the ground, spread here and there. Then it is very difficult to collect them together. But if you have $1000 all sitting in one single place, and if one dollar is scattered it is easy to collect back that one dollar and make it complete. So all these things such as singing, and so on, they all help to give the mind a single-pointedness, and are helpful.


Question: Clairvoyance, in which one can see the past, or past life, or even the future - Is that natural when one is enlightened?

Babaji: No. When one is enlightened, one sees God everywhere. One doesn't see the individual anymore. So then we pray only to God to help everyone. If one starts looking at the past/present /future, then this requires the mind, and then you can't help people as effectively and conscious attention is not on God.


Question: If God is good, why are the earth, and all the people on the earth allowed to suffer so much?

Babaji: I also felt like this, so I understand your question. But when one becomes enlightened, one finds that God doesn't have any resolutions of the mind. Just like the Sun doesn't choose who gets the light, just whoever comes in front of the Sun, gets light. So similarly God is impartial; He doesn't think, "Let these people be happy, but these other people should be unhappy." No, it is not like that. What is needed is, we need to become nobler. It is our job. God is above all these things. You need to find who you really are, who is really suffering. We are responsible. God is not involved.

This creation happened due to God, but not according to His wishes. He is not involved in this creation. This is difficult to understand because the mind is used to judging. These problems all occur because the mind is out of control. I suggest you first work out, "Has God created this world?" Instead of getting angry with God for creating, firstly what evidence do you have that God in fact created this universe? There is a truth behind this.


Question: Baba, still on this question of the world's suffering. God gave us free will. So maybe we could thus be free to make choices in this world.

Babaji: With all these theories nobody really knows. When the mind is controlled, then you will know. Until now, humanity has not been able to reach any conclusive answer to this question. No conclusive answer has been found. What we need to do is, if there is a problem, and then see if there is a fault in you. By attention to others' faults, we don't see our own. I understand your feelings of suffering as I also used to feel like this. But we can go beyond this all by controlling the mind. All the religions have taught the same three basic points in this, bodily health - look after the body as necessary, mental health - control the mind, moral health, this is the hardest one - to know what is right to do.


Question: Still on this topic, are we therefore co-creating the world with God? Are we contributing to the creation, along with God?

Babaji: Actually we are simply dreaming, because we don't have the mind under control. All we can really know is, "This is how it is." If the mind is under control, then you can control your own creation. If the mind is not controlled, then this creation can be awful.


Question: Is there free will?
Babaji: All you can know is, you have come here. The consciousness is here. If you eat, you eventually die. If you don't eat, you eventually die. In the same way, if you need to sleep, you must sleep, so where is the free will here?

So it is all just coming to you. Like a dream. As Krishna tells Arjuna: "Do not delay. Before death shall claim this body, try to know the Self. Go to the great ones. Sit at their feet. Ask intelligent questions with humility. Then follow their teachings." It is something like being in the cinema. The mind gets sucked into the movie and then you start to experience all the happenings in the movie. I am trying to tell you, "Hey it is just a dream!" I am trying to wake you up. I felt the same way as you. I felt agonized by all this unhappiness of this world and fought with God. "There is hardly any good here." But when I became Realized, I said, "I'm sorry my Lord." I found it is our own fault. We need to behave. We need to pray for peace and act on it also.


Copyright © 2004 SRBY, All rights reserved.

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