How does a Guru act?

How does a Guru uplift the disciple?  How does the Liberated Soul lead the aspirant to spiritual realization ?  What are the methods employed by the Guru?  These are some insights on this question gathered from the works of Sri Aurobindo, The Mother (Mira Alfassa) and Ramana Maharshi.

The Guru is someone who has liberated his/her consciousness and has become an embodiment of the Divine.  The Mother said that the Guru is a channel for the Divine who connects the aspirant to the Divine Power flowing through him –

Ultimately, what does the guru do? He connects (gesture of junction), he is nothing but a link. It’s not “his” power he gives you (that’s what he thinks, but it’s not true): he is the link. He brings you into contact with the Power – a contact you don’t have without him. But those who don’t need a guru will make contact WITHOUT a guru.  Basically, the guru’s real power is to fill up the gaps! To bring you into contact: when you are in the higher planes, to bring you into contact with the Highest. Or to bring you into contact with your soul, your psychic being within, or to bring you into contact with the Supreme – but that not many can do.

The Mother, Mother’s Agenda: July 10, 1963

Initiation (Diksha) by Emanation

The Guru is no longer bound to his physical body;  He has a liberated consciousness and has the power to put an emanation of his consciousness into the disciple.   An emanation is a portion of the Guru’s consciousness which merges with the disciple’s consciousness and allows the Guru to influence the disciple from within as required.   M.P. Pandit, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo, writes in his book Gems of Tantra

When the Guru initiates, he puts out an emanation of the Power active in himself into the being of the disciple.   This tapas-force begins the sadhana and leads the seeker on the path.  The working of this Force is twofold: negatively, it weakens the hold of the lower obstructive nature and gradually dissipates the old samskaras, habits and impressions, leading eventually to the snapping of the knots of ignorance and ego that bind the soul; positively, it builds up a consciousness that grows through purification, subtilization and spiritualisation into the very nature of the Divine Consciousness that is sought for. [1]

The nature and purpose of the emanation was also explained by Sri Aurobindo in the book The Mother.  While the description below pertains to the Mother, it can also apply to other Gurus who may use the same technique.

The emanation is not a deputy, but the Mother herself.   She is not bound to her body, but can put herself out  (emanate)  in any way she likes.  What emanates, suits itself to the nature of the personal relation she has with the Sadhak (seeker) which is different with each, but that does not prevent it from being herself.  Its presence with the Sadhak is not dependent on his consciousness of it.

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother: The Mother’s Emanations

By virtue of this emanation, the Guru can identify his /her consciousness with that of the disciple’s and select the right Mantra that may be needed at the current stage of development.

The Guru-disciple relationship

Sri Aurobindo writes in the Synthesis of Yoga that the Guru awakens the disciple by three methods, each more powerful than the previous Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga – I: The Four Aids :

Teaching : The teacher does not seek to impose his/her opinions on the passive receptive mind of the disciple.  Instead, the teacher throws in suggestions which are productive at the current stage of development of the aspirant.    The Guru seeks to awaken rather than to instruct; he aims at the growth of the faculties and the experiences by a natural process and free expansion.

Example : The Example is more powerful than the Teaching.  Example does not mean the Guru’s outward acts or personal character but the spiritual realization which the Guru has attained.  The Guru acts as an Exemplar who stimulates aspiration within the disciple to progress higher up the ladder of Evolution.

Influence : The most powerful method is the method of Influence.  This does not imply outward authority but power of contact, of his presence, of the nearness of his soul to the soul of another, infusing into it, even though in silence, that which he himself is and possesses.  The greatest Master is much less a Teacher than a Presence pouring the divine consciousness and its constituting light and power and purity and bliss into all who are receptive around him.   This method can be illustrated in the life of Ramana Maharshi, the sage of Arunachala, who gave his teaching in Silence.  This is an excerpt from his talks –

Question: How can silence be so powerful?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: A realised one sends out waves of spiritual influence, which draw many people towards him. Yet he may sit in a cave and maintain complete silence. We may listen to lectures upon truth and come away with hardly any grasp of the subject, but to come into contact with a realised one, though he speaks nothing, will give much more grasp of the subject. He never needs to go out among the public. If necessary he can use others as instruments.  The Guru is the bestower of silence who reveals the light of Self-knowledge that shines as the residual reality. Spoken words are of no use whatsoever if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of the disciple.

Question: Why does Bhagavan (i.e. Ramana Maharshi) not go about and preach the truth to the people at large?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: How do you know I am not doing it? Does preaching consist in mounting a platform and haranguing the people around? Preaching is simple communication of knowledge; it can really be done in silence only. What do you think of a man who listens to a sermon for an hour and goes away without having been impressed by it so as to change his life?  Compare him with another, who sits in a holy presence and goes away after some time with his outlook on life totally changed. Which is the better, to preach loudly without effect or to sit silently sending out inner force?  Again, how does speech arise? First there is abstract knowledge. Out of this arises the ego, which in turn gives rise to thought, and thought to the spoken word. So the word is the great grandson of the original source. If the word can produce an effect, judge for yourself how much more powerful must be the preaching through silence. [2]

How does this Silence act on the disciple’s consciousness ?  We have a clue from Sri Aurobindo’s Record of Yoga, where he has mentioned that the Guru uses occult power of Vyapti (Sanskrit for all-pervasiveness) to communicate by subtle means with the disciple.   See the Sapta-Chatushthaya for more on Vyapti and Prakamya.

By Prakamya we have perception of another’s feelings; by Vyapti these feelings are felt striking on our own consciousness or ours are thrown into another.   It is possible by vyapti to communicate anything we have in our systems – thought, feeling, power, etc – to another and if he is able to seize and hold it, he can make it his own & use it.  The teacher & the guru habitually use this power of vyapti which is far more effective than speech and writing.   Every thought, feeling, sensation or other movement of consciousness in us creates a wave or current which carries it out into the world-consciousness around and there it enters in any adhara (support) which is able and allowed to receive it.

Sri Aurobindo, Record of Yoga – I: Sapta Chatusthaya

In addition to this, M.P. Pandit describes Sparsha-Diksha (initiation by touch) in his book Gems of Tantra

…the most valuable (method of the Guru) is the physical touch of his/her hand. There are certain obstinate physical and subtle-physical samskaras( i.e. residues of the past), associations and habits, which are difficult for the seeker to get rid of unaided.   They can be removed only by the direct power of the Guru flowing through a physical channel. On this plane of physical matter, the importance of physical means cannot be gainsaid.   Under certain circumstances physical means alone are fully effective.   The means have to correspond to the plane of existence that is being worked upon.   The physical touch of the Guru sets into current a dynamis that strikes at the sources of the physical obstructions, eliminates them from the source and enables the spiritual Power to transform the human material into the divine.  [3]

It is also relevant here to take an example from antiquity.  The various Vidyas given in the Upanishads were imparted by the Guru to the disciple by subtle means (i.e. thought transference).  These Vidyas were seed-principles (i.e. realize the Divine as Bliss, or realize the Divine as the immutable Self)  that disciple had to realize within his consciousness through meditation.   For more on this, see the post  Vidyas in the Upanishads

References

  1. M.P. Pandit.  Gems on Tantra volume 2, p 27
  2. http://www.spiritual-teachers.com/silenteaching.htm
  3.  Pandit. op. cit., p 48

48 thoughts on “How does a Guru act?

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  6. Sandeep Post author

    A funny impression of the Maharshi Mahesh Yogi from an episode of the BBC2 comedy series “Goodness Gracious Me”

    Reply
  7. Sandeep Post author

    T. Kodandarama Rao was a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. This was how he experienced the Master’s presence:

    Sri Aurobindo was a magnetic dynamo, radiating his light and force to the sadhakas (disciples) who sat round him, if they were only calm and receptive. Every evening, as I sat before him, I felt the force and light coming from him, with redoubled vigour and energy and it was always on the increase. I felt as if I was being rewound every evening at the meditation time, the given force to last till the next evening, to be reinforced again then with fresh force and light. The force was illimitable and I felt that the Master was an inexhaustible storehouse of Divine Force and Light. The light that he gave us lightened up the corners of the whole being and began to show the dark spots and tendencies and defects to be worked upon by the Force for change. According to one’s capacity, everyone received the divine blessings from the Master. Others also used to have similar experiences

    Source: (T. Kodandarama Rao. At the Feet of the Master, Pondicherry: SABDA 2007, p. 27)

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  10. mike

    “He never needs to go out among the public. If necessary he can use others as instruments”

    Yes, l’ve experienced this quite often through ppl around me and friends or family. One friend who knew nothing much about yoga or SA and the Mother,but who was actually getting vivid dreams about SA and then telling me about them the next day. They usually had important hidden messages that l recognised, although he wouldn’t have understood there significance. l had mentioned SA to him before, but he had no real interest and still doesn’t.
    l think we might have to amend the method of ‘physical touch’ [obviously as they aren’t physically present anymore], or rather extend it to receiving their touch on other planes [which l’ve had many times, so l can vouch for their effectiveness in that respect]. lt feels just as powerful to me when it happens in dreams etc…
    l’m sure l read something about their ‘EMANATIONS’ being with ppl as a sort of subtle physical presence or form. At least l understood it that way. Like a Spirit constantly attached to the sadhak and with him/her always. l have felt Sri Aurobindo’s spirit like an overshadowing Presence that makes you feel very light and vast.
    One thing l’m curious about is something l read about sadhaks who are destined for the Supramental Transformation will have two of these Supramental Beings with them [subtle physical of course] all the time, or just appointed to them for this purpose. l can’t remember where l read it, but it’s pretty clear in my mind.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Mike: One thing l’m curious about is something l read about sadhaks who are destined for the Supramental Transformation will have two of these Supramental Beings with them [subtle physical of course] all the time, or just appointed to them for this purpose. l can’t remember where l read it, but it’s pretty clear in my mind.

      This is the first time I have heard of it in connection with Integral Yoga. The only place I recall reading about it is in the works of Jiddu Krishmurti. This is the exact quote:

      “There are various occult societies and various practices. In some societies, at one stage you are initiated as a disciple to a master, and he makes an image of you, and every emotion, thought, and action of yours is reflected in that image, so that the master can watch over you. And at another stage two beings (angels) are supposed to protect you.”

      (Asit Chandmal. One thousand moons, Abrams, 1985 p 20)

      Here is the google books page and someone has posted the passage on tumblr as well.

      Reply
  11. mike

    Sandeep, that sounds like what the Mother experienced. Alma [theons wife] told Mother She had always had these two angels [or subtle beings, but l think alma called them Angels] with her. She didn’t know until She ‘Looked – as She says’ and actually saw them. They apparently helped her to perform some of those miracles ‘like floating’ when she was a child. Apparently, Theon told Her ‘Angels’ were from some mental plane [possibly overmental – l’ve always thought of angels as the western equivalent of the eastern God’s] and had wings because they looked pretty.
    As Mother claims to have been Joan of Arc, it doesn’t surprise me that these Angels were with her like they were with Joan.
    Anyway, l don’t think these Angels are the same beings l read about [l’m sure it was The Mother who spoke of this]. l feel sure She said ‘Supramental Beings’ who are very tall and from the Supramental world and they’re placed with those sadhak’s who have this destiny.. l could be wrong, but it made a strong impression at the time.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I found the passage you are talking about. Its in the Agenda March 9, 1963. Its funny how it aligns with what Krishnamurti said!

      When I worked with Theon, the memory came back, and I saw it was an entity: what people in Europe call angels (what do they call it?) … guardian angels, that’s right. An entity. Theon had told me of certain worlds (worlds of the higher intellect – I don’t remember, he had named all the different planes), and in that world are winged beings – who have wings of their own free choice, because they find it pretty! And Madame Theon had always seen two such beings with me. Yet she knew me more than ten years later. And it appears they were always with me. So I took a look and, sure enough, there they were. One even tried to draw: he asked me to lend him my hand to do drawings. I lent my hand, but when I saw the drawing (he did one), I told him, “The ones I do without you are much better!” So that was the end of the matter!

      The Mother, Mother’s Agenda: March 9, 1963

      Reply
  12. mike

    Yes, l wouldn’t have thought krishnamurti would talk about this – although considering his theosophical upbringing, it’s not surprising.
    l found a bit more about these Tall Beings. l was wrong about them being Supramental though, as Mother points out here [from the Supramental Ship]:
    “This immense ship had just arrived at the shore of the supramental world, and a first batch of people destined to become the future inhabitants of the supramental world were about to disembark. Everything was arranged for this first landing. A certain number of very tall beings were posted on the wharf. They were not human beings and never before had they been men. Nor were they permanent inhabitants of the supramental world. They had been delegated from above and posted there to control and supervise the landing. I was in charge of all this since the beginning and throughout. I myself had prepared all the groups. I was standing on the bridge of the ship, calling the groups forward one by one and having them disembark on the shore. The tall beings posted there seemed to be reviewing those who were disembarking, allowing those who were ready to go ashore and sending back those who were not and who had to continue their training aboard the ship. While standing there watching everyone, that part of my consciousness coming from here became extremely interested: it wanted to see, to identify all the people, to see how they had changed and to find out who had been taken immediately as well as those who had to remain and continue their training. After awhile, as I was observing, I began to feel pulled backwards and that my body was being awakened by a consciousness or a person from here note – and in my consciousness, I protested: ‘No, no, not yet! Not yet! I want to see who’s there!’ I was watching all this and noting it with intense interest … It went on like that until, suddenly, the clock here began striking three, which violently jerked me back. There was the sensation of a sudden fall into my body. I came back with a shock, but since I had been called back very suddenly, all my memory was still intact. I remained quiet and still until I could bring back the whole experience and preserve it.”
    and their appearance:

    “The tall beings on the shore were not of the same color, at least they did not have this orange tint; they were paler, more transparent. Except for a part of their bodies, only the outline of their forms could be seen. They were very tall, they did not seem to have a skeletal structure, and they could take on any form according to their needs. Only from their waists to their feet did they have a permanent density, which was not felt in the rest of their body. Their color was much more pallid and contained very little red, it verged rather on gold or even white. The parts of whitish light were translucid; they were not absolutely transparent, but less dense, more subtle than the orange substance.”

    Reply
  13. Sandesh

    Dear friends,

    I have always wondered why people smoke. I always felt it as something harmful for the body and a retardant for spiritual growth. Recently i came to know the Sri Aurobindo also used to smoke cigarrates until the arrival of mother.
    http://intyoga.online.fr/nird12_1.htm
    So i am thinking( with my limited knowledge of course) why some body with Sri Aurobindo’s stature should smoke even after having realized the highest of consciousness.

    I dont mean to criticise anybody nor am i trying to find a fault. In fact, I was trying to find a way to help my friend to quit smoking and for this purpose i was trying to understand WHY people smoke.

    I would really appreciate if any of you can throw some light on the physcological aspects of smoking and whether it is good or bad for spiritual growth. (To stop smoking at will is a different issue –🙂 i believe )

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Your question deserves a new blog post!

      Firstly, we have to understand that smoking in those days wasn’t considered harmful to health. It is only around the 1960s that scientists began linking smoking and cancer (See this 1954 article in the Guardian newspaper) . Check out Siddharth Mukherjee’s book Emperor of All Maladies(pp. 240-241) for historical attitudes towards smoking.

      In case of those who have attained Self-Realization, certain physical habits like smoking may continue but they do not affect the tranquility in the mind and the feeling of bliss in the heart. The mind is devoid of thought and stands detached from the senses. That is why Sri Aurobindo could quit smoking immediately. He wasn’t attached to it.

      Swami Vivekananda also smoked and ate meat, despite which he possessed the power to initiate others into Yoga and divine the future. I believe he said that he didn’t care about perfection in external matters or that human nature cannot be perfected (don’t remember the exact quote). It was the power of Ramakrishna which worked through him. Once his mission was fulfilled, he departed.

      Reply
    2. Sandeep Post author

      I forgot to answer the general question as to whether smoking is good or bad for spiritual growth.

      There are certain exceptional souls like Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda who quickly attain Self-realization without much effort. Smoking doesn’t affect them because their spiritual capacity(Adhikara) is extraordinary.

      The rest of humanity would be sorely mistaken in emulating them blindly. One has to adhere to the eightfold path prescribed by Patanjali – yama, niyama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, etc.

      Reply
  14. mike

    Yes, Sri Aurobindo gave up smoking cigars only when He heard that the Mother didn’t like the smell of tobacco [l think she said it lowered the vibrations or something]. l believe. l mean, He was obviously beyond any attachment to these things. The early disciples were even taking the occasional glass of wine.
    Sri Aurobindo was even experimenting with large doses of certain drugs, as satprem says in his book ‘Mother or The Divine Materialism’ – he says the amount of drugs SA took would have destroyed most ppl or driven them insane.
    l think if we have a Spiritual Destiny these things won’t stop it anyway, or they’ll just drop away by themselves.

    Reply
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  16. ipi

    Compiled from the works of Sri Kapali Sastriar:

    Glory to the Yoga whose fount is the side-glance of Bhagavan Sri Aurobindo! The paths of Yoga are many,the aims and goals are varied and the Shakti, the Yoga-Shakti that executes and effectuates the purpose in the Sadhak is different in each case, depending as it does on the personality of the Guru who initiates and sets it working in the disciple. The subject-matter of the present laudaton is the Yoga-force of Sri Aurobindo, the Shakti which proceeds effortlessly from the side-glance of the Master. The gracious side-glance, krpakataksa, has a definite connotation in Indian spiritual tradition, such a glance of the Guru or God always carries with it an infinite compassion, a look that searches for an opening in the devotee through which to pour the Grace. His karuna-kataksa carries with it the Yoga-Shakti which is inseparable from him.

    And what is the character of this Yoga-Force? It is bhuma, Vast. Vastness is its very nature. Not the vastness of the void or of the featureless impersonal. It is a vast charged with the manifestation of the Immortal. Its content is not of a phenomenal, evanescent character. It is an eternally rich manifestation that features its vast extension. In its large ambience this Yoga embraces the whole gamut of human existence. In the striking imagery of the Vedic mystics, the whole of manifested existence is compared to a Hill. The ever-unfolding vistas of life are paralleled by the rising tier of plateaus.The summit of human life which is conceived as the attainment of the highest secret – God, is imaged by the peak of the Hill where the Sun of Truth shines in all his glory. The Yoga-Force of Sri Aurobindo proceeds from the high summits where he lives. But on that account it is not all above;its home is above but its field of activity is not limited to the heights alone. It can descend with a purpose; avaroha is always made with a specific view. It is a gradual, controlled descent, not a precipitate incline, undertaking to come out to the lower heights and extend its influence and working in those regions.

    (Kapali Sastry, PRAYERS, Page 13)

    Reply
  17. nicola

    “WHY” people smoke of Sandesh has its answer in that it produces a physical gratification and a habit, call it an addiction, though I´d suggest such habits/addictions may not only be found at physical level but as well as at other levels, for instance, we may have people absolutely free from smoking and terribly addicted to, say, money, or opinions, even their own opinions, so that in a wider sense addiction refers to how we relate with things and thoughts and emotions. We create a channel for self-gratification, whether an object as a cigar or a coin, or an emotion, and we repeate it because it produces a gratifying experience at some level.
    If this is right, smoking would be but an aspect of such a more general possibility of addiction, which would lead us to the question whether is one free of all addictions as to be entitled to suggest someone else to get free of their own.
    We could have the case of a smoker, but not addicted at any other level,( as for instance, Sri Aurobindo himself) and the choise of whether leave it or not be only a physical circumstance.
    For instance, we have no smokers in big cities, but this people is daily inhaling huge quantities of sustances similarly potentially dangerous as the nicotine is, and had they to be coherent with their healthy habits, they should avoid hurban life as well.
    Doing a list of possible dangers due to addiction on each level, may lead us to ask if they have the same potential danger, or in case of emotional or mental addictions, if they may have a potentially more desastruous result then mere physical addictions.
    Under the addiction-creating sense of possession and jealousy a terrible emotional storm may cause a murdering, though I never heard of anyone doing this because he lighted a cigar.
    So that possibly, distictions are needed.

    Reply
    1. huta

      is there any significance of this picture? Is this an artistic creation or what is it? pl. do elaborate on this….thx

      Reply
  18. Sandeep Post author

    The Indian habit of bowing to the Guru causes consternation among some male Westerners who reflexively believe that such “native” practices turn Yoga into a religion. These are the Mother’s remarks on bowing to the Guru (March 1973):

    The Indians believe (or have the experience) that the Divine lives in the human being. The Europeans don’t believe it. For them, he is somewhere above. He has incarnated only in Jesus Christ. So they don’t bow down to any human person. But if one bows down to a person who has embodied the Divine Consciousness—of course with faith—then that person can more easily transmit his consciousness (or experience) to the other.

    The Mother, Words of the Mother – II: The Guru

    Reply
  19. mike

    “So they don’t bow down to any human person”

    Only royalty. aristocracy and the pope. What ldiot’s.

    l’m pretty sure SA and Mother probably don’t like being bowed to. One night l had a vivid dream where l appeared in front of the Mother and my immediate reaction was to get down and touch her feet, but She stopped me and shook my hand instead. This was in the beginning and l wasn’t very experienced with Her Shakti, so it threw me against a wall, lol. The Mother rushed over with a big smile and asked me if l was alright. The fact that She didn’t want me to bow indicted to me that She was the Divine Mother, because l believe She has said somewhere that a True guru doesn’t need worship.
    All the same l know that touching the feet of SA and Mother can give incredible experiences. The Master put his foot on my head once and l had an unforgettable experience.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      > She has said somewhere that a True guru doesn’t need worship

      Yes, a true Guru doesn’t need worship but the disciple often requires an external power source to open the consciousness before the inner fire is lit.

      Secondly, everybody doesn’t have to bow to the Guru externally. It can be an inward obesiance. One should bow only when one feels the power emanating from the Guru.

      Reply
  20. mike

    l read the other day about when champaklal first went to the ashram and touched SA’s feet. He said he couldn’t move for an hour and only when SA spoke was he able to get up.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I don’t know about that, but I recall reading a funny story of an (probably) American couple who once stood before Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and were confused as to whom to bow to. They decided to bow between them. I might have read it in Amal’s memoirs

      Reply
      1. ipi

        Champaklal: When we went upstairs Sri Aurobindo was seated in the verandah. I saw nothing except him and when I prostrated before him I lay there for one full hour. I just could not get up. No one disturbed me. At the end of that hour Sri Aurobindo placed his hand on my head, blessed me and said “Tomorrow.” Then I got up.

        source: (Champaklal. Champaklal speaks, Recollections and Diary Notes page 10)

  21. *__*

    Was the mystery of mike’s use of a lowercase letter “L” in place of “I” (capital letter “i”) ever solved?

    Reply
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  25. nizken

    What do you think of Gurdjieff and his Fourth Way? Gurdjieff seems to have set up his school at Prieure Fountainbleau where the Mother Mirra Alfassa also lived close by I suppose? I guess Fountainbleau was like the center of occultism and such alternative societies in France of that era….
    He seems to have made quite a few claims about his travels and written a lot in his 3 volume series, but I have always had my doubts about this guy. He seemed like a very dubious personality and not averse to being a charlatan and taking advantage of people’s naivete at that time.
    What do you think of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky anyway? There is still a small following of theirs in Manhattan today.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      I have heard of him but don’t know much and haven’t bothered to find out. Don’t get caught up in the play of personalities. It is more important to imbibe and practice the teachings, preferably of some distinguished sage.

      Reply
  26. mike

    Yes, l looked into him some years ago, but could never take to him. He had a very tough approach to ‘waking up’.
    Read his main book trilogy ‘all and everything’ and some stuff by ouspensky because it related to becoming conscious in sleep. But, nothing there for me.
    He wasn’t trusted by a lot of ppl [many of them his own students] and he was definitely a womaniser and suduced a lot of his female students – left quite a few illegitimate kids in america, l believe.
    He did influence a lot of ppl; like rajneesh [osho – enough said there l think] and castaneda etc…
    Not someone l’d feel comfortable with.

    Reply
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  28. Ananya

    “It is not the human defects of the Guru that can stand in the way when there is the psychic opening, confidence and surrender. The Guru is the channel or the representative or the manifestation of the Divine, according to the measure of his personality or his attainment; but whatever he is, it is to the Divine that one opens to when one opens to him.
    In my own case, I owe the first decisive turn of my inner life to one who was infinitely inferior to me in intellect, education, capacity, and by no means spiritually perfect or supreme, but having seen a power behind him and decided to turn there for help, I gave myself entirely into his hands and followed with an automatic passivity the guidance. He himself was astonished and said to others that he had never met any one before who could surrender himself so absolutely and without reserve or question to the guidance of the helper.
    The result was a series of transmuting experiences of such a radical character that he was unable to follow and had to tell me to give myself up in future to the Guide within, with the same completeness of surrender as I had shown to the human channel. ”

    Sri Aurobindo, On Himself: Deficiencies of the Human Guru

    Reply
  29. mike

    “As Mother claims to have been Joan of Arc, it doesn’t surprise me that these Angels were with her like they were with Joan”

    l should ammend that statement, because joan of arc only saw one angel – the other two were female saints:
    “Joan said she received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret and Saint Catherine instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War”

    Reply
  30. mike

    l came across something very interesting SA said about physical nearness to the Mother. l can’t remember read it before, but it would explain the attitude of some of those who were in close attendance to Her:

    “The following quotes are from Volume 25, “The Mother”, of Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library:

    It is quite wrong to say that the Mother loves most those who are nearest to her in the physical. I have often said this but people do not wish to believe it, because they imagine that the Mother is a slave of the vital feelings like ordinary people and governed by vital likes and dislikes. “Those she likes she keeps near her, those she likes less she keeps less near, those she dislikes or does not care for she keeps at a distance,” that is their childish reasoning. Many of those who feel the Mother’s presence and love always with them hardly see her except once in six months or once in a year; — apart from the Pranam and meditation. On the other hand one near her physically or seeing her often may not feel such a thing at all; he may complain of the absence of the Mother’s help and love altogether or as compared to what she gives to others. If the childishly simple rule of three given above were true, such outbursts would not be possible.

    Whether one feels the Mother’s love or not depends on whether one is open to it or not. It does not depend on physical nearness. Openness means the removal of all that makes one unconscious of the inner relation — nothing can make one more unconscious than the idea that it must be measured only by some outward manifestation instead of being felt within the being; it makes one blind or insensitive to the outer manifestations that are there. Whether one is physically far or near makes no difference. One can feel it, being physically far or seeing her little. One can fail to feel it when it is there even if one is physically near or often in her physical presence.

    Sri Aurobindo, The Mother: Special Relations with the Mother

    Reply

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