I am tired of so much discussion about the "masters" as if they were "them", somewhere far away. A "master" is no more than a human being who has done his or her homework.
I am doing my homework, so I know the path I tread.
The "secret" of this homework can be found in many books, but I'll give just two quotes.
From Mark's gospel: 9, 35 "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be the last of all, and servant of all".
From Patanjali Yoga Sutras: 2, 1: "tapas svaddaya isvara pranidhana kriya yoga" and I understand this sentence as "fiery effort, study and dedication to common good are the yoga of action". I know that this is a quite unusual rendering, and I have not studied Sanskrit, nevertheless, it is so that it is meaningful to me; "meaningful" meaning that I can work on it.
Do as you will, people, every action has its consequences.
Dear Ferran ,
I cannot overemphasize a very critical point - The word masters are used by others who consider themselves are disciples even if a master does not acknowledge them as such . The common intellect is always engaged in useless activity that produces no results .
There is another point to be noted in the Guru - Shisya bond (I am not using it loosely as most people do ) - It is a pre requisite and UNDERSTANDING that it is the Disciples efforts alone that help him to attain to his self . The guru only points the way and (if alive) can clear the doubts of the disciple verbally .
Where a guru is helpful is - he can (depending on the disciples purity in thought ) give subtle demonstrations of those things that can be demonstrated , in cases he can be helpful in raising the Kundalini of the aspirant - (but you can be sure that he is not going to raise it to the 7th chakra or even the 2nd chakra ). He will get it moving and the aspirant has to follow it up - it is a very long road even if one has a preceptor . In some cases Pranayama need not be consciously done if Mantra yoga is done . An adept can confer on his disciple any number of Psychic and astral experiences - but again it the disciple who has to "learn from them " on his own - Swadhyaya (learning by one self - reading is to to be practised and experiences checked ). Another place where a guru is helpful is in "wiping'' out any pre concieved notions we have of God and creating a perfect blank - where he can demonstrate subtly instruct in some attributes.
Again the nature of the realization of the master determines to what extent he can help a person or demonstrate the truth - If the master is a realized Gnani there are actually no limits to his ability to transmit knowledge - for this his realization must have been one of Advaita - or total non dualism . All other masters may be able to instruct only in the particular path they have themselves come through . A yogi is also a Gnani and a Gnani is a Yogi no one else is . because their realization will be befitting their concept only . It is easy to find out if a Kriya Yogi or a Karma Yogi are Gnanis . A Gnani WILL be able to instruct in all types of yogas . (I use instruct - meaning demonstrate - not just by words) . But still it is the aspirant who has to collate his experiences and go forth in his search for the self .
Having a Guru (a good one ) helps in gaining experiences of higher metaphysical areas which otherwise one would not even be aware of . The more one progresses with a sense of urgency - the more the aspirant opens himself to inner experiences . One can learn from inside rather than from outside - it is a much quicker and surer way - one is after all Knowledge and nothing else . Faith is required in this belief .
I fully agree with you, people read books and comment on them, but do not use anything of it in their life.
Thanks for your nice replies, Hari and Ludo! :-)
yes, the key point is the activity of the disciple and the understanding of the need of discipline
I don't understand the word "discipline" in its usual meaning, but strictly as "disposition to learn"... this is the true self-discipline as I understand it: to keep an open mind now
but most people believe they already have an open mind, so they already know...
to me, discipline is the skill in changing the form of the mind to be able to respond today to what life brings me today; self-discipline is the way to overcome conditioning, responding to what life brings me today in yesterday's ways
Guru, like God, is both inside and outside, at the end of the day there is no difference, but in the beginning one focuses in one of the two aspects... until one has to focus on the other to maintain the balance needed to keep on the path
it was thanks to Ramana Maharshi's infinite grace that Ferran knows of the Heart, so I do agree, there are no limits to the ability to transmit knowledge of the Gnani
but I do not use the word "master" to refer to Ramana, I call him granddaddy :-)
this was just to point out service as the key spiritual practice