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Inspirational Article


The Disciple's Part

by Paramhansa Yogananda

From Essence of Self-Realization

Article Index



1

"Spiritual healing requires willing cooperation on the disciple's part. It cannot be achieved by passivity. Surrender to the divine will, as expressed through the guru, must be offered freely, willingly, and intelligently.

"Unenlightened teachers often try to impose their will on the disciples. Freedom can never be achieved in this way, even if the advice given is essentially valid. To impose one's will on another is wrong, spiritually. Like the practice of hypnosis, it weakens the will of the person hypnotized.

"Obedience must be to the highest that is in your own self. Spiritual instruction, too, must proceed from that high level of consciousness. It must be attuned to the guidance for which your own soul is longing.

"The difference between such wisdom-inspired guidance and human discrimination, based on introspection, is that the unenlightened mind is clouded by likes and dislikes, and conditioned by past habits and old ways of looking at things. The guru's consciousness, on the other hand, is like a flawless mirror. It reflects the disciple's spiritual state back to him. It gives him what he needs, to escape the bondage of delusion.

"Cooperation with the guru strengthens the will power immeasurably, for it attunes the disciple's will to the infinite will of God."

2

"Why is the new Kriya initiate required to say, 'I do,' when he comes forward to receive the blessing during the ceremony? It isn't only a promise to practice the techniques, and, in keeping with ancient tradition, to guard their secrecy. It is the 'I will' of discipleship. It expresses the devotee's firm resolve thenceforth to set aside ego-motivated desires, and to dedicate himself to doing God's will alone, as expressed through the line of gurus.

"If you take initiation in this spirit, you will quickly reach God."

3

"When purchasing a car, it is sensible, at first, to compare models. "This one has such-and-such advantages,' you'll say. 'That one has such-and-such others.' Once you've reached a decision, however, your common sense ought to tell you to back it wholeheartedly. What use would be served, at that point, by further hesitation?

"Suppose you buy a Plymouth, and drive it from Los Angeles with the intention of going to Boston. On arriving in Arizona, however, you think, 'Perhaps I'd have done better to buy a Buick.' So you return, trade in your Plymouth for a Buick, and start out again. Hardly have you reached New Mexico, however, when you think, 'Maybe it should have been an Oldsmobile.' So back you go to Los Angeles to repeat the process yet a third time.

"Apart from the cost of all these changes, in both time and money, you may end up never completing your journey.

"That is how some people are: Even after accepting a guru they keep on asking themselves, 'Shall I accept what he says on this particular point? Why did he say what he did yesterday? That wasn't what I would have said.' And sometimes they wonder, 'Does he really know what he's doing?'

"It isn't that obedience should be stupid. It takes discrimination and deep, intuitive understanding even to know how to obey. Until the disciple rids himself, however, of the tendency to indulge in carping doubts, he will never establish that relationship with the guru which will take him to God."

4

"Intuition is necessary to discipleship. Otherwise, you won't understand the guru's guidance.

"Don't depend too much on your reasoning faculty. Wisdom can't be achieved by intellectualizing the truth. Nor can intuitive understanding be achieved by argument.

"Spiritual insight requires tuning in with faith to what the guru says, and to what he asks of you. Intuitive faith, not logic, is the basis of divine understanding."

5

"Train your mind to say instantly, 'I will!' Only then think how to accomplish what has been asked of you. For with too much reasoning comes hesitation, confusion, and doubt. In the end, you may find that your will power has become so paralyzed that you are incapable of acting at all."

6

"Some people, when sleeping, are almost impossible to wake up. You call them, and they don't answer. You shake them, and they cry, 'Leave me alone!' You shake them a little more, and they may open their eyes a little bit; they may even sit up. But the moment you leave them alone, they collapse back onto the bed and fall asleep again.

"There are some people, on the other hand, who respond with alert attention the moment you call them. That is the way of the true devotee. The moment God summons him, he responds eagerly and willingly. Thereafter, he never thinks back nostalgically to his former sleep of delusion, but seeks ever greater wakefulness in God.

"Be like that true devotee."

7

"If a doctor gives you a prescription, but you tear it up and toss it away, how can you expect to be cured?

"The guru is your spiritual 'doctor.' Do as he advises you. If you follow his 'prescription' even a little bit, your life will be transformed."

8

"We had a young boy here, who had come with his mother. Every time I tried to offer him a suggestion for his welfare, he would pout and cry, 'Mama, he's scolding me!' At last I simply left him alone. Why try to help a person if he doesn't want to be helped?

"But remember, if I say anything that you don't like, it isn't you, in your deeper reality, who are being hurt. It is only that part of you which you have come here to change, or to get rid of."

9

"Remember the words of Jesus, 'The last shall be first.' (Matthew 19:30) Go on to the end of life. Those who are still there at the finish"not for 'sticking it out,' but because they love God"will be the first in the kingdom of heaven."

10

"Attunement to the guru means complete, heartfelt acceptance of his guidance, and also of his activities. Your acceptance must be unqualified. You mustn't say, for instance, 'I accept what the guru tells me in this situation, but not in that one.' Nor should you say, 'I accept what he tells me, but not what those say whom he has appointed to represent him.'

"Attunement means also listening for the guru's inner guidance, in your heart. In everything, ask him mentally what you should do; how you should behave; how you can love God more deeply. More than guidance, ask him to give you the power to develop spiritually.

"Be guided by common sense also. Never, in the name of attunement, behave in such a way as to offend against reason or against the rules of proper conduct. 'Learn to behave,' Sri Yukteswar used to say. Don't let attunement with the guru, in other words, be your excuse for an undisciplined imagination!"

11

"Words are incapable of conveying the fullness of an idea or a perception. Listen to my words, but try also to tune in to the deeper meaning behind them. I prefer magnetizing you with my thoughts to teaching you outwardly, through words. For only when I can touch you from within, in your consciousness, do I know that you have grasped my true meaning."

12

"To tune in to the guru's consciousness, visualize him in the spiritual eye. Mentally call to him there. Imagine his eyes, especially, gazing at you. Invite his consciousness to inspire your own.

"Then, after calling to him for some time, try to feel his response in your heart. The heart is the center of intuition in the body. It is your 'radio-receiver.'

"Your 'broadcasting station' is situated in the Christ center between the eyebrows. It is from this center that your will broadcasts into the universe your thoughts and ideas.

"Once you feel an answer in the heart, call to the guru deeply, 'Introduce me to God.'"