Leaving Your Guru?

What happens when you leave your Guru? I am often asked what happens to those disciples who leave or fall off from their path in spiritual? Well! Nothing happens. They continue to do what they are supposed to do and live accordingly. Which translates into- they continue to live without their Master.
Many years ago, Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the disciple of Samarth Ramdas, a great Master. He followed his Master wherever he went. The moment the king came to know that his spies have found his Master, that he ran to meet Him. Not caring what people would think, he behaved like a kid and ran to his Master. The Master too loved the disciple and came to Satara whenever he could. He taught the dearest disciple about spiritual and the able disciple excelled at it.
Swami Vivekananda too used to run back to his Master Shri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa whenever he could. Due to his childlike behavior the Master gave him all His love and teachings. He became His foremost disciple with the highest knowledge. Had he not gone back to his Master, do you think Narendra would have become Swami Vivekananda? The constant feeling of meum and oneness with the Master and deepest urge to be with Him made Narendra come back often.
Chandorkar and Abdul, Dabholkar and my great grandparents Savitribai and Raghunath Tendulkar too stayed with Saibaba of Shirdi more often than they lived with their families. The disciples got direct teachings from the Master.
In case of the various disciples of Jesus too, they used to travel and stay with Him, then alone knowledge could rise in them. Peter, Paul and others could become who they are only because of Jesus’ personal training to them.
Then there are those who might get disgusted with the Master and go away like Hriday went away from Shri Ramakrishna or Judas betrayed Jesus. Some like Upasani went away from Saibaba to start at Sakori his own ashram. Even Sri Sri Ravishankar started off on his own after being with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the TM Guru.
Some are given instructions to do certain jobs. They may follow their teachers instructions like Swami Chinmayananda did to teach the world or even like the first Shankaracharya Sureshwara who got his instructs from Adi Shankara. These are great examples to follow.
Then there are those with half baked knowledge and spitting venom about their Masters, decide for themselves their own greatness. But the Master doesn’t have any ill will at all. He wishes them well, knowing fully well that they have to return like the lost sheep if not in this life, then at least their next life!
Once a Brahmin went to Samarth Ramdas and told him that he wants to become his disciple. The Guru agreed to train him and gave him a mantra. Everyday his Guru used to serve him the food stuff which he got from begging. Or pancakes made from flour begged from people(madhukari). The disciple was upset and he thought, “after all this man is the Guru of Shivaji Maharaj, so he should be having great foodstuff!”
He was upset so he goes to a neighboring village. He meets a great hindu savant and begs him to serve good food. The village rich man obliges him with a sumptuous meal. After having the meal, the disciple asks whether that rich man could keep him as a disciple of his, since he could afford such great food stuff? The rich man tells this disciple to return the mantra which his old Guru had given. The disciple comes back to Swami Samarth Ramdas and asks Him to take back the mantra since he had found a new rich guru. Ramdas tells him to take a little water in his mouth and spit it out. When the disciple spits the water out, it forms words on the ground. These were the real mantra he was given by Ramdas.
He returns back to the rich man and tells him what had happened and how he had spat out that pure mantra. The rich man is aghast at the stupidity of that disciple. How could he be such an idiot? For some food and money, he had forsaken his true Master? Sadly, the rich man asks that man to go away since he doesn’t deserve anything at all.
This was an extreme story. But it clearly points to becoming a good disciple, it needs great amount of discipline. There are no shortcuts in discipleship. You have to work hard. Do the sadhanas prescribed by the Guru. Be a humble disciple. Don’t disobey or cause harm to the reputation of your Guru.
Even if you want to go away since you might not be ready for the training, then do it graciously. Don’t backstab. Remember, your Guru is not meaning harm to you since He is only doing His job of training you.
Exit with grace and not with ill will. After all, you have left half way. Maybe in your next or some other life you will have to meet the same Master to carry on the unfinished sadhana. Amen!

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