You always seem to stress on the point that in Teacher-Student relationship it is the student who is more important than the Teacher. On many other occasions I have also gained this understanding from you that ultimately a student has to surrender in order to receive the grace of Lord through the Teacher. Acharya ji, these both statements taken together kinda confuse me. I would request you to please shed light on it – what is the exact role of student?
The first statement is always true in all the circumstances!
The capacity, orientation, attitude and caliber of the person trying to search the ‘Truth’ is always more important and fruitful than of the one who shows the way. Yet the second statement about surrender is equally valid!
Well, its natural to get confused because both of these statements are seemingly directed to the different sets of people considering their qualifications and capacities. Let me clarify. Entry level of any spiritual aspirant can be said to be the ‘Seeker’. A seeker is the one who is full of questions, doubts, queries and he in ‘search’ of the truth. The truth for him is in the form of an ‘answer’ or ‘understanding’ that he feels when received would satiate his thirst forever. Clearly, this attitude of seeking is deeply rooted in a sort of intellectualization of the ‘Truth’. In the light of our Gurumandala’s wisdom this person or ‘Seeker’ is referred to as a ‘Student’.
A student wants a teacher and thus a ‘Seeker’ creates a ‘Teacher’ in the person who guides him in his ‘search’. A searcher will always require a teacher. Since such a person ‘wants’ naturally he will have to ‘work’ for what he/she wants. All wants require us to take action and therefore a student by virtue of being a ‘doer’ has to put lots of efforts and take-up series of actions in his pursuit. This initial emphasis on ‘doing’ is the need of majority of people. Our natural progression is from Kriya to Gyaan, from Gyaan to ichchha and finally from ichchha to ananda. So ‘doing’ should not be considered futile for it is that very phase of growth in which one grows by following the instructions of one’s teacher and doing whatever is instructed. (Whatever truly means ‘what ever’ here.)
If that ‘whatever’ is followed with discipline some interesting things start happening. These systematically occurring (although may seem sporadic to the student) events give the much desired jolts to intellectual make up of the student and hence a fruitful communication becomes a possibility now. A sincere student keeps coming back with fresh doubts and myriad of experiences that he/she enjoys through in the process of ‘testing’ teacher’s words and suggested methods. This seemingly cyclic process of newer doubts and newer methods by teacher is a way through which the teacher works on student where his attitude of ‘doing’ and ‘seeking’ the Truth as an attainable object, abstract idea or universal concept fades gradually. This phase is mandatory for here the student has turned into the phase of being an ‘experimenter’ and ‘learner’. This phase when student gets into a true ‘learning mode’ is crucial and worth sustaining for this brings about the desired changed and inculcate the right kind of virtues in a ‘student’.
Only those who succeed in preparing the right kind of attitude, a fertile state of mind the seeds of faith can be sown. It must be understood that huge amount of efforts are needed in this phase and the perseverance, discipline, hard work, with the attitude of putting teacher’s words to test are the basic qualifications that make a ‘learner’ successfully pass this ‘seeking’ phase. So this is the context of first statement. Once with consistent efforts and through his perseverance a ‘Seeker’ turns into a dedicated ‘Sadhaka‘ or ‘Practitioner’ a magic happens. He stops looking for answers outside! He is ready to accept the methods and tools for inner journey. If a practitioner holds his/her ground in Sadhana it shows he is ready for a long haul. Such a dedicated practitioner when accepted by the teacher for higher or deeper journey is called a ‘Disciple’.
Now this ‘Disciple’ has created a ‘Master’ or ‘Guru’ out of the same person whom he/she was seeing in a ‘Teacher’. He then, through his own experimentation and by testing the words of his Teacher now clearly realizes that the Truth can not be sought.. It is not a thing or concept outside (or even inside) but the deepest of ‘Self’. His faith in the ‘Master’s words’ becomes firm. Having exhausted all other means (inner and outer) of knowledge, being grateful for the support all through this journey so far when one looks up to one’s Guru for revealing the truth or secret – This centered attitude gives rise to faith. Faith means having unquestioning trust in the words of one’s Guru. Sustained joyous faith rooted in desire-less -ness soaked in the effulgence of gratitude is called ‘Surrender’. Through Guru’s words he thus understands that the Truth or God is not a ‘thing to be experienced’ face to face, as something separate from self rather one can only merge with the Truth for there is only ‘Truth’ nothing else. Surrender is not passive submission thus here too the qualification and eligibility of the ‘Disciple’ is paramount for only a courageous, dedicated and fearless one can completely disarm oneself and strip-off one’s false identities, insecurities only to dissolve the wall of separateness between the Guru and him.
Hope this kinda clarifies your doubt (smiles)
-Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath