Question: Is it possible for a disciple to learn from a more advanced seeker?

Sri Chinmoy: It is not at all necessary for a seeker to go through all the mistakes personally in order to arrive at truth. If a disciple is a beginner and he happens to meet an advanced seeker — really advanced, not just the one who has been a disciple for many years — the advanced seeker will be able to advise the beginner from his own experience. This relationship between the beginner and the advanced seeker might be compared to a mother and child. The mother tells the child not to touch fire because she knows from her own experience that, when she touches fire she burns her finger. If the child does not believe his mother, then he does not profit from his mother’s experience. But, just as the child can go to his mother and ask her what happens when she touches fire, so a beginner in the spiritual life can seek advice from an advanced seeker. The beginner recognises the advanced seeker because he sees that he is leading a divine, disciplined life. The advanced seeker sets an example.

If a beginner does not accept the advice of an advanced seeker, it will take him longer to reach the goal. Just as the good, positive advice parents give their children will help them run faster and grow up to be better adults, the advice of an advanced seeker who is like a father or elder brother to those who have just entered into the spiritual life can help the beginners to make faster progress. If the beginner has to do everything on his own and go through all the experiences, then he will waste a lot of time and reach the goal much later.