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

Sri Chinmoy: It is not at all necessary for the seeker to go through all the mistakes in order to arrive at truth. If a disciple is a beginner and he happens to meet an advanced seeker — a really advanced seeker, and not just one who has been a disciple for many years — then the advanced seeker will be able to advise him from his own experience. It is like a mother and child. The mother tells the child not to touch fire because she knows from her own experience that touching fire causes pain. The mother had previously touched fire and burned her finger; so she is speaking from experience. If the child thinks that the mother is lying, then he doesn’t profit from his mother’s experiences and he will touch the fire with his own finger. So, just as the child comes to the mother and asks what happened when she touched fire, so a beginner in the spiritual life seeks advice from an advanced seeker. The beginner recognises the advanced seeker because he sees that the advanced seeker is leading a divine, disciplined life; the advanced seeker is an example for him.

If a beginner takes the advice of an advanced seeker, it will take him less time to reach the goal, just as the good advice a parent gives his children, to speak the truth and to meditate, will help them grow up to be better adults. An advanced seeker is like the father or elder brother of those who have just entered into the spiritual life. If the beginner has to do everything on his own and go through all the sad experiences, then he will waste a lot of time and reach the goal much later.