One day a spiritual Master happened to see a sad quarrel, a dispute between two of his disciples. The two disciples were almost fighting. So the Master approached them and said, "Now what is the matter? Why are you quarrelling and fighting?"
Both of them cried out, "Master, Master help us! We need your guidance. We need your light."
The Master said, "If both of you speak at once, I cannot do any justice to you. So tell me, one of you, what is actually bothering you."
One of them said, "Master, the bone of contention is you and nobody else."
"What?" the Master said.
The disciple continued, "He says that the Master, the Guru, is more important than God. I say, impossible, God is more important. He says the Guru is more important because the Guru shows the way, paves the way, and the Guru takes the disciple to God. He says also that though God cares for everyone, even the sleeping and unaspiring, if one wants immediate concern and blessings from God, it is through the Guru that one can have it. That is why the Guru is more important.
"But I say, no, it is God who has given this kind of love and compassion to the Guru; it is God who has made the Guru an instrument to help mankind. So to me, God is more important.
"He says that there is a Goal, but if somebody doesn't take him to that Goal— that somebody being his Guru— then God will always remain a far cry. He says,'The Goal may be there, but who is taking me to the Goal? I can't go alone; I don't know the road. So my Guru is more important, because the Goal will not come to me.'
"I say, no, the Goal may not come to me, but the Goal is God. Now if your Guru takes you to the Goal, God, and then God does not care for you, what is the importance of the messenger? The Guru can take someone near the Goal; but if the Goal doesn't care for that person, then naturally the journey is useless. A human being can take somebody to a Master, but if the Master is not pleased with the person he has brought, then the case is hopeless. The most important thing is not who has taken the disciple, but who is pleased with the disciple. If God is pleased with someone then that is more than enough.
"He says that if Guru accepts someone as his dearest disciple, then he takes on his shoulders the Law of karma. When the father knows that his son has done something wrong and the father wants to save the son, he takes the punishment on himself. This is the Guru. But God is the Universal Father. He deals with His Cosmic Law. If we do something wrong, God will give us the consequences; we shall be punished. He feels that the Guru is more important, because the Guru takes on his own shoulders the punishment that the disciple deserves, whereas God will always follow His Cosmic Law.
"But I say, no, God is not punishing us, God is only giving us an experience. Who is punishing whom? God is having His own experience in us and through us. So we are not getting any punishment, but rather, God is enjoying or suffering through us, in us.
"Moreover, God existed before the Guru came into the field of manifestation, and God will continue to be God long after the Guru leaves the field of manifestation. The Guru came from God and he will return to God, his Source. But God is Infinite and Eternal. Never will He cease to exist. God is the All; the Guru is the temporary embodiment.
"Guru, I have the utmost devotion to you. Although he is saying that you are more important than God and I am saying that God is more important, I do have the utmost faith in you. Would you please illumine us in this matter?"
The Guru said, "Look, if you think that the Guru is the body, then the Guru is not at all important. If you think that the Guru is the soul, then Guru and God are equally important; they are one and the same. But if you feel that the Guru is the infinite Self, the Transcendental Self, then you have to feel that it is neither the body of the Guru nor the soul of the Guru, but the Supreme in him, who is the Transcendental Self. The Supreme is the Guru, everybody's Guru. If you want to separate the physical, the soul and the Transcendental Self, if you want to separate them into three different parts, then you will never realise God, you will never be able to realise the Highest Truth. In order to realise the Highest Truth, you should serve the physical aspect of the Master, love the soul of the Master, and adore the Transcendental Self of the Master. The most important thing is to see in the physical the boundless light of the Master; in the soul, the consciousness of inseparable oneness; and in the Self, the eternal Liberation. Then only the Master and God can become one.
"God and the Guru are equally important in the Eternal Game, the Divine Drama."