Part II — The Guru's example
The Guru's exampleYou go to school with the idea that the teacher is good, that the school is good. Then, if you study there for a few months and the teacher disappoints you, what do you do? You give up. You don’t believe in that school any longer, so you look for another school. When you are disappointed in a teacher you go to somebody else. And if you are not disappointed in a particular teacher, then you learn from him as much as he can teach you, provided he is very sincere. If he is very sincere but he has taught you as much as he can, then you don’t have to stay with him. You went to him with a sincere belief and your sincerity has carried you along for a couple of years. Now he cannot teach you any longer. So naturally your sincerity will take you to some other place.
There are some teachers who cannot teach you even right from the beginning; they are not real teachers. They do not have the capacity, but they try to keep you as long as they can just to exploit you. There are some sincere teachers who can teach you for a couple of years, and there are some teachers who can teach right up to the highest height. It is you who have to know whether the teacher is sincere or insincere, and then your inner being will tell you whether you are making satisfactory progress or not. The moment you feel that you are not making any progress whatsoever, in spite of your sincerity and deepest eagerness to make progress in the spiritual life, then you should know that the path you are on is not meant for you.
The Guru has to be a perfect example of what he teaches. His outer being has to be the perfect example of what he is saying. Otherwise, he is not a Guru. Books have been written about everything. If you read or think about God-realisation or think of God a thousand times or pray to God, that is not enough to realise God. But the Guru can show you the way to realise God just by a mere touch. The responsibility of a Guru is tremendous. If the Guru is not a perfect example of his teachings, then he is not a true Guru. He is what in the medical world they call a “quack.”
So the disciple must be very, very careful in selecting a Guru. If he makes one mistake in his spiritual life, it is not like an ordinary mistake: his whole life can be ruined. It is not as if he is eating a particular kind of vegetable one day and then if it does not suit his system, he can eat a different vegetable the next day. No, it is not as simple as that. Here if a seeker accepts a Master and if he is not the right Master for that seeker, then the experience can be very destructive. The poor disciple can lose faith even in God. He will say, “God, I was sincere. Why did You bring me to this kind of Guru? I did not know what he was like. I am a blind, innocent, helpless fellow. I was so devoted to my Guru and my Guru deceived me. Now to whom should I go? Must I go to some other Master? He will also deceive me.” At that time the seeker starts judging God. Then the seeker loses all faith in the Guru, in God and in himself. At that time his mind and his heart become a barren desert. There is a saying that before getting married one should think a thousand times about whether or not he will marry a particular person. Similarly, in the spiritual life, before a seeker selects a Guru he should wait a while and dive deep within to see whether that Guru is meant for him or not. If the Master is not meant for the seeker then the seeker should forget him.