That human relationships are complicated would be a huge understatement. They are much more than just complicated, they are often dark, murky, and messed up. Who of us has not experienced the sheer frustration and despair of not having our expectations met? Or the agonizing pain of having a broken heart? Or the complex and convoluted rationale behind justifying the hurt we have caused to a loved one? Human relationships are often a perfect recipe for disaster.
Given that my views on human relationships are sceptical and often bordering on the cynical, I was therefore happily surprised when I spoke to the disciples about their relationship with their Guru. A whole new aspect of human relationships emerged. Unlike the usual parameters of attachment, selfishness, insecurity, desire, fear that define most human relationships, the Guru-disciple relationship bases itself on some of the most beautiful ideals of human existence. It is a relationship that is built on profound love and respect, real trust and freedom and a natural and simple obedience. The central purpose of the relationship is to help and guide the disciple to undertake his inner search for the Self.
During my interactions with the disciples (see my first blog) the following few aspects of the relationships were the most common.
1. The relationship was described as being deep and personal and was experienced in various forms, for example, the Guru was seen as a mother and the disciple as a child, the Guru perceived as a boss and the disciple as a worker or the Guru as the Divine and the disciple as a devotee. All the disciples I spoke to shared a very personal and living relationship with their Guru. According to them, with time, the relationship had grown which meant that the contact with their Guru had become very concrete. Their questions were answered, problems and difficulties were solved, things easily fell into place, and definite guidance was provided.
The disciples also felt an innate need to live according to the words of their Guru. They were all sincerely busy trying to put into practice all that was expected of them from their Guru.
2. Another very interesting aspect of the relationship was that in spite of little or no physical contact with their Guru, the disciples still based their relationship on a total sense of power and presence of the Guru. A deep and concrete connection was continuously maintained in their lives. They knew that they were being watched over constantly and that help and guidance was always around. The physical absence of the Guru forced the disciples to find the Guru within. I was surprised to find that so many of the disciples expressed how concretely they felt their Guru’s presence. There were many ways through which a connection was established; It could be through reading his books or through meditation, visions, or dreams, or it could be a silent exchange through prayer, or just a simple contact through the Ashram atmosphere. They all agreed that the physical absence (though hard at times) forced them to find the Guru within themselves. In short, the Guru was their inspiration, their support, and the one person who never failed them.
The most remarkable aspect of this relationship was the impact it had on the disciples. It brought the disciples “back to their real Self”, as one of them expressed. The essence of it has been the need to not just love the Guru but to become like him eventually. It is this intense need to merge into That Oneness that carries forth the disciple in his journey of disciple-hood.