Not everyone wants a personal relationship with the Guru. I did. I loved Baba personally and as the Guru, and I still do. Most people want the Guru without any personal relationship. When people see a Guru in human form, instead of being excited by the wonder of this manifestation and his accessibility, they diminish the Guru. This is like Arjuna not understanding who Krishna was. For Arjuna, Krishna was a wise friend, mentor and advisor. Krishna went along with that perception until Arjuna needed to be woken up from a delusion of great magnitude and consequence. Only then did Krishna reveal his true form.
The Guru in the physical form is so important for us as a model. He shows the intersection of the divine and the material. He aids us in learning how to function in the world and then how to transcend the material. I loved watching and being able to play with Baba on the physical plane, learning the outer and inner at the same time.
The Guru is not stingy. The Guru always gives. What does he give? Love. Love manifesting through the physical form at all times. The Guru’s Love is always manifesting, no matter what the Guru’s physical form is doing. He always gives Love, even in the form of anger.
People tend to have an idea of what the Guru should look like. But the Guru transcends form even as he inhabits it. Baba happened to be in the form of a monk, but he Loved the householder saints. They just lived regular lives, not separate from the lives of ordinary people. They showed us that the Guru is not a lifestyle or anything specifically material. The Guru manifests through whatever lifestyle the form has. So whether a mendicant, a charioteer, a farmer, a banker, a woman, a man, the form is not what matters—it is the Guru that matters.
I loved Baba’s form. But I knew that every moment, whether he was yelling at me, calling me stupid, playing a political lila, or just sitting there that last day in his physical body, when he helped me up from pranaming because I was so pregnant. Baba Loved. Strange are the ways of the Great Beings. Why? Because they are always loving in the way that is appropriate for that moment. They are God manifesting through them for the betterment of all, both personally and universally.
Most people are too immature spiritually to accept a true personal Guru. Though they profess to be seeking that, they would really rather have an abstract experience, because they are not ready for the personal. These people want someone purely ethereal, with no humanness. For them, the Guru just fulfills an idea.
Other people believe they are seeking a personal Guru when they really just want a counselor. A Guru is not a therapist. The Guru is interested in your soul, not your head.
Then there are people who regard the Guru as only human, like everyone else, so they will not see or hear what the Guru has to offer. They belittle the Guru because of the Guru manifesting in the human form. They feel that in manifesting, the Guru is diminished. But in order to manifest the Guru takes on a physical form. These people would rather just deal in ideas, never accepting that ideas derive most of their value from being applied on the physical plane. We have to manifest and test our ideas. Otherwise, we will believe that whatever we think is great, without any reality check.
The Guru is unfailingly generous of spirit; he participates in life. People who don’t participate in life are stingy and afraid. They use and they take, they protect their belief systems—and they get nothing out of life. The Guru has nothing to protect.
One way to avoid the living presence of a Guru is to be a devotee of a dead Guru. This is just one more way to keep things abstract. As Baba was fond of saying, there is nothing like a dead Guru: he never yells and always agrees with your desires. The problem is, I am still with a living Guru. Swami Muktananda’s form may be gone, but Baba is alive and yelling at me as he always did. Thank God.
Baba said all kinds of derogatory things about me to others. And people did get what they were supposed to get from that. It was all a play designed for all of us to learn. Whatever Baba said was appropriate for that moment. I am thankful that Baba derided me over and over again. Baba Loved, and it always came through, no matter what he said or did, at least for me. What a blessing to be yelled at by the Guru. My job was to obey and love, and it still is. After I had malaria, Baba had me eat bitter melon every day for my health. I hated bitter melon, but not once did it ever occur to me not to do as Baba instructed.
Having a personal relationship with the Guru is the rarest of opportunities. I understood that, and cherished every interaction I had with Baba. People used to say that Baba was different in his own house from how he was in public. As someone who knew him well in both places, I can testify that nothing could be further from the truth. His manifestation may have varied, but he was always the same. Baba was always Baba, and he always Loved. That last day he was in his physical body, when he helped me up from pranaming, he looked at me with total, unconditional Love. This is who he is, even now.
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