Tribute to My Guru


by Rohit Kapoor 


The Mahabharata story tells us that Krishna  and his beloved pupil Arjuna were great friends all their lives. They had plenty of time to talk about atma jnana – self-realization.

On the other hand it seems to be very improbable that right in the middle of a battle, two people, who were the kingpins in the battle, found not only the time, but the psychological climate to discuss philosophy.

When Krishna  placed the chariot between the two armies and pointed out to Arjuna the people with whom he had to fight, Arjuna collapsed. Having collapsed, he was not prepared to admit “I am not capable of standing. I am trembling, I am nervous.”

Arjuna,the student, was a learned person – and it is highly impossible to teach a learned person. He said: “Krisha – I should not fight these people. I am not weak, I know the truth, I know what is righteous and what is not righteous; if we kill all these men here there will be an overpopulation of women….All these moral laws on which the society is based will crumble and we who are responsible for this will all go to hell.”

There was not a single flaw in that argument because it is based on cultural patterns, tradition and righteousness as it is taught in the religious schools – not on the battlefield.

Arjuna’s problem was that he knew what was right and what was wrong. Is that a problem?

If you know what is right and what is wrong, why do you not do what is right and avoid what is wrong? Because the doer of the action is far removed from the knower of right and wrong. The doer of right and wrong is burdened with the memory of what is right and wrong. He is burdened with knowledge. Instead of knowledge – of truth becoming flesh – the knowledge has remained unassimilated and it prevents him from functioning in the here and now.

There is a funny story: a fox and a cat met in the wilds.

They were discussing methods of escaping when attacked. The cat said: “Climb the tree.” The fox said: “You are stupid. I know a hundred methods. I can chase the hunter, I can throw mud in his eyes, I can run away, I can howl.” As the fox was saying all this, a hunter came. The cat quickly went up the tree but the fox was trying to figure out what to do.

You can guess that he did not come to a conclusion; he did not have to because his conclusion came immediately! When all this knowledge is stored up as memory, it paralyses the doer of the deed.


If you understand the spirit of the first chapter of Gita and the philosophy in the first few verses of the second chapter till the verse in which Arjuna says:

“I am confused. I am your disciple. I surrender myself to you. Teach me what is good”.

If you can grasp this sentence alone , then you have understood the entire Bhagavad Gita.

For grasping this , read on :

He did not say: “I have handed everything over to the guru.” The guru is not a porter who carries your luggage! You cannot hand everything over to him.

You must try your best, you must use all your faculties –mental, physical, intellectual,moral and spiritual – God gave them to you in order that you may use them and then go to him only when you are in serious trouble. If they prove inadequate then return to the source, the guru, for more.

Who and what is a guru?

A guru can be a person or an impersonal experience of reality.

Guru is one (or that) which dispels the darkness of your ignorance. If this does not happen, there is no guru.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna did not appoint Krisha as his guru.  Rather he said , what is most important expression in Gita ,  “Sisyas te ’ham’ – I am your disciple. Actually Arjuna appointed himself as the disciple to Krishna . This is real  SURRENDER (Inner Volition of the highest GURU within – Buddha, within  ) .

Be aware – even Krishna did not appoint Arjuna as his disciple . Because , Krishna is the embodiment of divinity , which itself is embodiment of   surrender as the highest virtue .

Thus Krishna simply accepted , self appointment of Arjuna as his disciple out of mutual love between a devotee and the divine.

How beautiful !! That’s why it is said , “Only when the Disciple is ready , the Guru will manifest”

  • You have no right to appoint someone as your guru, but you can, by looking within yourself and examining, investigating yourself, find out if you are a good disciple or not.

  • Likewise the Guru has no right to select – reject or  appoint a disciple but surrender to the discipleship offered to him by a devout disciple.

That’s what Krishna did , when he yielded – SURRENDERED ( Like a mother yields to her offspring) to the discipleship of Arjuna.

People often use the word ‘surrender’ without understanding its real meaning . It is easy to surrender when you have tried your utmost to deal with a problem, and you see no way out of it. Then surrender is natural –what else are you going to do?

Then you perforce become a disciple, then you will joyously listen to what the other person says. Therefore complete volitional surrender is the real discipleship – this surrender itself is your guru.

To illustrate, here is the story of Ekalaya  finding his GURU :

Just Like Ekalaya appointed himself to be the disciple of Guru Dronacharya , even when Dronacharya rejected him for his discipleship request to favour his favorite disciple Arjuna. Yet , in-spite of Guru Dronacharya’s rejection , Eklaya made a statute of Dronacharya and devotedly worshiping & meditating on Guru’s teachings became much better archer then Arjuna .

So you find the guru , if only you have found within you the true discipleship .

Even if the chosen Guru does not impart you the knowledge , the cosmic guru – Krishna Consciousness will flow the teachings as blessings in the worthy disciple.

However , If this spirit of discipleship is absent, any teaching is futile as it doesn’t bear fruits .

Ironic part – In Gita – Guru Dronacharya selected Arjuna – appointing him as his favorite disciple. Yet Arjuna fought against Dronacharya in the real war . On the other hand Arjuna actually chose Krishna as his real GURU  by offering  his discipleship to  his dear friend Krishna , and gained him as his GURU.

It is a beautiful formula upon which one can meditate and manifest GURU of  choice.

A Question on Discipleship

From time to time I will get an email question from someone I don’t know that I would share with you. This is such a one:

What does it mean to be a disciple, what is expected of a disciple, and how many disciples do you have? — Namaste, Paul

Dear Paul,

A disciple is someone who is devoted and committed to sadhana and to the sadhana teacher. Because disciples have union with Truth, God, and liberation as their first, or only, priority in life, and because the sadhana teacher provides the means of reaching this end, disciples have an investment in the teacher: they want to keep that person alive, well, and able to continue with their own sadhana so that the disciples themselves are not left in the lurch at some unfamiliar turn in the road. So they support the teacher through service and through providing practical necessities. Such a teacher is not going to be working for a living, but does full time sadhana and works for his or her students and disciples.

One exception to this is the paramguru. This teacher is someone who has completed his or her spiritual journey as a seeker, is already fully liberated and constantly in communion with the Divine, has cheated death and is in possession of the eight superhuman powers. Being beyond the influences of cause and effect, such a one has no need of support of any kind. A paramguru is difficult to find and, frankly, most of us are not likely to find ourselves in the presence of one.

I think this answers the first two parts of your question. If you would like to know more about this relationship, look for a text called the Guru Gita. It is probably online somewhere. There are a few entries from the Guru Gita on my blog site, Mystical Tidbits. The links at the bottom of this email will take you to them.

As to the last part of your question, the answer is, None. If I should come to have students who consider me and the sadhana I teach in this light and fulfill these “expectations,” I would consider them disciples.

Durga Ma

An article on discipleship:

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