The relationship between a Guru and their disciple is a very beautiful relationship. There are so many types of relationships we experience in our life. When we are born, usually we have a mother and father, so our first relationship is with our mother and father. The mother will do anything for the child. The mother will think of only the best interests of the child. To see a mother and her baby together, for example the mother might be breast feeding her baby—to see that bond, that connection, the love the mother has for the baby, the surrendering nature the baby has towards the mother, is beautiful.
Then we have a relationship with our siblings, a relationship with our best friends, a relationship with our husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend. So all these relationships are very special, very beautiful. When I say they are very beautiful, what I mean is that your life will be more beautiful because of these relationships. But all these relationships are the relationships of this world. They are very different to the relationship a disciple has with a Master, and the Master has with the disciple. The bond of the mother and child is very close. But the bond that a Guru has with the disciple is much more close.
The disciples don’t always know the significance of this relationship. As a matter of fact, most of the time they don’t know! But the Guru knows. For example, let’s say the disciple takes initiation—it could be a 5 minute process or a 30 minute process, but it’s not very long. That means the person takes on discipleship. The disciple goes off, works in a job, gets married, and has 3 children.
While the disciple is mowing the lawn one day using his new ride-on mower, he’s not even thinking about the Guru. Now, he’s on a hill and the pump belt snaps and he nearly dies. Somehow the mower stops before it goes down into the gully and he thinks, “Wow, I was lucky.” That’s what the disciple thinks—I was lucky. The disciple doesn’t know that if it wasn’t for the Guru’s protection, it would be more than a pump belt snap. It would be a spinal cord snap. The disciple doesn’t know that, but the Guru knows that.
Every disciple, even the so-called “bad” disciples still have their Guru’s protection. As a matter of fact, the Guru has no say—once the Guru signs up, a condition of the Guru-disciple agreement is the Guru will protect the disciple always, unconditionally. So the Guru can’t pull back the protection, it doesn’t matter what the disciple does.
When I first came to Australia we lived in a unit in Cabramatta and one of my favourite cartoons was Astro Boy. The TV antennae with the units was not the best, so we had this copper wire antennae on top of the TV and we had to move it around on the ground to find a spot where it would show the best image on the TV. So similarly, when the disciple is in tune with the Guru then the disciple will have a sense of clarity. The disciple will feel it doesn’t matter where they are, doesn’t matter what they’re doing, there’s a sense that the Guru’s protection is there. You can sense it.
I remember volunteering on my Guru’s Indian tours, we went to many different cities throughout India, and I was cooking rice as part of the tour. Sometimes when I finished my duty I had a few hours to spare, so I would go to the city—it might be a 10 or 20 minute rickshaw ride away, depending on the city. So I’d catch a rickshaw. I’d never been to that city before, there might be 6 million people in the city—there was traffic everywhere! I knew nobody there. There was a sense of, “Wow, anything could happen to me, no-one will know who I am.” But while sitting in the rickshaw, I could feel my Guru’s protection. The feeling of, “She’s with me, She knows where I am, She’s watching me, protecting me.” So I didn’t feel fearful. I didn’t feel lost in a big city.
The secret to tuning in to the Guru is to love the Guru and serve them with all your heart. The Guru will help the disciple tune in. The Guru will try to invoke the disciple’s compassion. When you feel compassion for another being, you tend to love them more. So the Guru will put themself through hardship, which makes the disciple feel compassion towards the Guru, and it makes the disciple feel, “Let me help you. Let me break my back with you.” In that process, over time, suddenly there’s a love for the Guru. The Guru will sacrifice their life for the disciple. The Guru shows immense love for the disciple and the Guru demonstrates, in their life lived, all those qualities that the disciple wants to have. And that creates faith, that feeling, “I want to be like that.”
Now, the other part of the question is: Is faith in the Guru a decision that the disciple makes? The answer is yes, it’s a decision. But that word ‘decision’ has many different meanings. Let me expand on that word ‘decision’. There is a decision made by your mind, and there is a decision made by your heart, though both are using the same word ‘decision’.
Where the decision is made by a person’s mind, the person will do all the same things externally, but there is a difference—the love element won’t be there. Even if you make a decision to love the Guru, the love element will not be there! Because the mind doesn’t know how to love. It’s only the heart that knows how to love. The mind only knows how to calculate, it doesn’t know how to love. It knows how to analyse, it doesn’t know how to love. It knows how to criticise, but doesn’t know how to love. So when a person makes the decision from their mind to love the Guru, it will always be short lived.
Now, a mother that loves her child is not coming from an analysis of how to love the child, or why she should love the child. It’s not coming from her mind. The decision to love her child is a heartfelt decision. The mother can’t even help it. Often a mother will look at her newborn when there’s no-one around, the baby’s in the cot, in nappies, the mother will look at the child and say, “You don’t know how much I love you.” Or sometimes they say, “Oh, I love you so much.” The mother can’t help it! See, that’s called the decision of the heart.
So it’s true, we make a decision. If it’s a decision of the heart, then this connection will be there. You’ll feel it. When you love a Master in that way, the relationship is something very beautiful.
The Guru’s protection comes in so many ways, but the disciple can only perceive a few moments. Usually when their life is saved! Or when they’re trying to rent a house and there’s a lot of competition, there are 20 other people applying, and they get it. Or when they go for a job interview and they’re desperate for a job after they were knocked back so many times, and they get the job. They will feel, “Oh, thank you Master, thank you.”
The Guru’s protection comes in so many different ways. We were driving home the other day and there was a traffic jam on the highway. Then we saw there had been an accident. I’ve never seen a worse car accident in my life. It involved a truck and a couple of cars. One of the cars didn’t look like a car anymore, it was all squashed up like something you see in movies when they demolish cars. There was no boot, there was no back seat, the whole boot and back seat were squashed together. And there was no bonnet. So all we could see was the seat of a car, and metal. The driver might have been just coming home from shopping that day.
All those times when you come home from work, or shopping, or sports, and you had no accidents, you were safe—you don’t think of the Guru’s protection. You don’t think of that. There are so many ways that we can die—cancer, and this and that.
All I can say is, from my experience, in that relationship with the Guru, you feel a sense of protection, you just feel safe. And when you feel safe, that precedes a feeling of peacefulness. Feeling peaceful is a by-product of the feeling that everything will be alright. When you don’t have the feeling that, “Everything will be alright, my Guru will take care of me,” you won’t feel safe and you won’t have peace. Peace of mind. But that feeling that, “I’m like a child, I surrender my life for you, I’ll serve you with all my heart, till my last breath…”—suddenly you just feel a sense that the Guru will take care of everything. The disciple will feel 100% protected. The disciple will walk around with a sense of this natural glow and calmness in their energy, in their voice, in their actions, in their smile, in their walk. The disciple’s faith and continued effort will result in their ultimate wish being fulfilled.