It is a truism that what we don’t want to face in ourselves we will deny and instead attribute to other people. People in positions of authority bear the brunt of this projection, so the Guru in human form is a gigantic target for it. People see the Guru as an authoritarian, a disciplinarian, even a tyrant, who has to be fought against. How sad.
I appreciated that my Guru was an authority, and I trusted his discernment. It never failed me. Baba never failed me. He still guides me, and I always work to be a good disciple. But I find these days people don’t want to be disciples of anyone, and because of that they will not acknowledge any authority anywhere.
These people don’t want to be dependent—or to be seen as dependent—so they become passive-aggressive. They cut themselves off from community while calling themselves autonomous. They think of themselves as alive and interesting, but they are actually dangerous to themselves and others.
|Cut off||Included / connected|
|Maintaining autonomy||Powerless / no cards|
|Alive / exhilarating||Boring / dead|
But in sadhana we have to be willing to be the authoritarian disciplinarian for ourselves. The only way out of our shrunken selves is, as the Yoga Sutras say, to persevere over a long period of time without interruption and with great devotion. This takes a disciplined will. And it requires us to interrogate ourselves rather than wait for the Guru to ask the necessary questions. The Guru wants us to achieve the Guru’s state, which means we have to accept our own agency and direct it toward God, which means we have to be willing to be authoritarian with ourselves.
|Self-questioning||No internal checks|
|Self-conscious / self-absorbed||Free / spontaneous|
We have to reflect, which means facing what we don’t want to face. Only then can we become conscious, and able to disentangle from what is not real, not us. Then, we can surrender completely to who we truly are, rather than our narrative. This is what is truly safe. Otherwise, we are always dangerous, which is why Baba said, “Love everyone, trust no one”.
It is so sad to watch some people try to force the Guru to be the authoritarian disciplinarian because they are not willing to question themselves. Stepping up to the plate means being willing to be present, participate, and take responsibility for our own sadhana.
|Rebellious||Willing / team player|
The career victim is really a selfish rebel, a spoiled brat who rejects all discipline. The authority, cast in the role of authoritarian disciplinarian, is the victim’s victim. And when the victim finally gives up his power, he also sees how much he has made others his victim. He had never been willing to see his own ulterior motive.
|Knowing your place||Self-belittling|
In many cases, the career victim’s goal is the avoidance of any and all discomfort; for her, the good life is a life of ease with no real consequences for her action or inaction. She therefore sees the role of the Guru as to prevent her from suffering discomfort. She believes that sadhana shouldn’t be uncomfortable, and that liberation means permanent liberation from discomfort.
|Serves the situation||Electric fence|
For these people, the Guru is there for crisis prevention, not for guidance on a path of discipline, self-interrogation, and Love. The Guru is then a service provider, and therefore a supporting player. When the Guru doesn’t relate with them as a service provider, he is seen as a tyrant. In this scenario, the only reason to relate with the Guru is to power trip. As long as these people think in this way, they will make no progress on the path, and the Guru will always disappoint them. They will see the Guru as an obstacle.
|Firm and clear||Sentimentalist|
If you approach the Guru in any way with an ulterior motive—avoiding discomfort, hiding, seeking power, seeking pleasure in the shakti, being unwilling to face what you would rather not face—the Guru will be displeased. If you approach the Guru with Love and willingness and understanding of the goal, the Guru will be there for you 100%.
In sadhana, you have to be willing to be a supporting player on all levels. You cannot be a disciple without having a Guru, and you cannot jump to being a Guru without being a disciple. That means the supporting player recognizes and supports not only the Guru but also his community. In reality, if you are not willing to be a supporting player, then you are an authoritarian who cannot be a healthy part of any community.
If we want to progress on the path of sadhana, we cannot insist on seeing the Guru as an authoritarian disciplinarian. Seeing the Guru that way merely reveals how distorted our vision is. Only when we recognize the Guru as the embodiment of Love can we learn to love ourselves. For the Guru has always been within us. And learning to Love requires discipline.
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