Swami Sivananda

Swami Sivananda

Swami Sivananda

The Guru Disciple Relationship

Swami Sivananda once wrote that no person should think he is so great that he does not need the help and guidance of a superior person. There are so many things that the aspirant cannot see at the outset, and as he continues along the path of spiritual practice he will encounter difficulties that might otherwise overwhelm him. For these reasons the instruction and support of a guru are essential.

At the same time, it is probably not the verbal instruction from the guru that is the most important gift from him – rather it is his own life and shining example. Swami Sivananda did not spend much time giving lectures to his disciples; they all learned from him by watching the example he set. “My life is my teaching,” he once said. Merely being with him, in his presence and under his protection could transform a person. One need only look at the truly great ones who Gurudev brought forth into the spiritual world: Swami Chidanandaji, Swami Krishnanandaji, Swami Venkatesanandaji, and Swami Satchidandandaji among so many others.

However, in this modern world, one must be extremely careful when choosing a guru. There are many persons who have crowned themselves “gurus” who abuse the authority of that trusted position. Until an aspirant has been able to observe a teacher over time, form a clear opinion of him and his character and trustworthiness, only then should the seeker commit himself heart and soul to that guru.

This guru-disciple bond is the most important relationship in a human life. It is in actual fact not a relationship between two human beings, but is the divine reaching out to the divine. This association is therefore not limited by time and space, but is an expression of the infinite.

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