Part VI — Questions and answers: Stanford University

Question: I've heard that when one accepts a spiritual path, there is a point at which one must surrender oneself to a Guru who is higher than himself. But I've also heard that one must constantly question his teachings and listen to his own inner voice. These two injunctions seem to conflict.

Sri Chinmoy: First of all, you have to know that if one goes to the trouble of getting a Guru, then he has to listen to his Guru all the time. It is better for one not to accept a Guru if he cannot accept his teachings, for the words of a real spiritual Master are directly inspired by the Supreme. A human being may be the leader of a few hundred or a few thousand, or a few million people. But the real Guru, the Guru within him, is God.

When you accept a spiritual Master as your teacher, it is because he is more illumined than you. As I said during my talk, you have to listen to your higher part. Right now your mind is superior to your physical or vital. When the mind asks you to do something, the physical and the vital in you obey. But again, the heart is superior to the mind, for the mind doubts and suspects, whereas the heart gets illumination from the soul. Similarly, the spiritual teacher, if he is really illumined, is the seeker's own highest part. He is not a different person. So just as the mind must listen to the heart, which is its more illumined part, in order for the seeker to make spiritual progress, so too the seeker must listen to his Guru, whose illumination is that of total oneness with the Supreme. There should be no sense of separativity when the disciple listens to his Guru, for the unillumined part of him is listening to the illumined part.

In the matter of surrender, we do not surrender to somebody else. We are only abiding by the soulful dictates of some part of us which is already illumined. It is not somebody else we are listening to; it is our own highest part. As beginners, we cannot remain constantly in contact with our higher part. But if we know that there is someone who represents and embodies the Highest, we can try to listen to him. When my legs listen to my mind, I do not feel that it is beneath the dignity of my legs to do so. I know that my head and my legs are part of the same body. The spiritual Master and his disciples are in that sense inseparably one.

The questioning mind can never realise the Highest; only the aspiring heart can realise the Truth. If you want Light, then you have to have implicit faith. Faith in whom? Faith in yourself, faith in God and faith in the one whom you choose as your guide or leader. Once you reach the highest Goal, you do not need a guide. At that time, you and the Goal are together. But if you start questioning your own sincerity, or the sincerity and the capacity of your Guru, or the existence of the Goal itself, then you will never arrive there. If you really want to follow the spiritual life, you must have implicit faith in yourself, in your teacher and in God. Only then can you make the fastest progress.