Acharya Prashant: So, you have asked about the qualities of a real Guru. The question must be turned inwards. One can never really know the qualities of a Guru, for there are no fixed qualities. Far more important is to ask the qualities of a real disciple. If one is a real disciple; one meets only the real Guru. If the disciple hood is pure within then one does not stay for long with a false Guru.
So, what then is real disciple hood?
Paying complete attention, and in that complete attention, there is neither acceptance nor rejection. You are just with what the Guru in form of a person is saying. You are just with that, without passing a judgment on it, without rejecting it, without even taking it as the Truth. When in spite of your so-called indifference towards acceptance and rejection, the words of that person if, they still penetrate your heart, then you know he is the right one.
So, it is a tricky business trying to figure out the qualities of a Guru; because, the Guru can show himself or herself in a thousand ways, at different points, in different situations. Sometimes, talking a lot about peace; sometimes talking a lot about conflict as well; sometimes even prodding you to go to war.
Now, if we have certain benchmarks regarding the conduct and the ways of the Guru, then we will be confused because the Guru will not conform to or abide by our standards. So far better is to have an inner compass regarding one’s own position as a listener.
When you are really listening sharply, then the false receives only two treatments:
- Either it would drop, or
- You would be able to see the Truth even in the false.
Both of these are good for you.
So, a person might be sitting in front of you and saying something which is not of much worth. You would either be able to casually just ignore it or you will be able to go to the root of it and see Truth even in the false. But, none of that has anything or much to do with the Guru. That has a lot to do with your own awakened sense of knowing.
So, turn the question inwards—How can I be an awakened disciple?
When you are an awakened disciple, you meet only the awakened Guru.
It’s always a perfect match.
When you are not awakened, then you keep meeting random people. And even if an awakened one comes to you, you are not fully sensitive to him. You may have an awakened talking to you but you will not be full getting the import of his message. So, it’s not so much about the other person – the Guru or the book or the author. It has much more to do with oneself.
Listener: It brings me to another question—I am still not sure exactly how to put it in words. I think I can absorb a lot of what you are saying. But, sometimes it gets me into this useless, rolling thinking. How do I cut that out but still be able to read all these books and absorb the knowledge, without putting my own thoughts?
AP: To begin with, in the moment of listening, listen! That will cut out the thinking. Later on, if you feel like thinking, you may keep thinking. But a point will come when even, later on, you will be so alert to the happenings that there will be a little space left for thinking. But, to begin with, at least in the moment of listening, listen so fully that there is no need for thinking. And, if thought still arises, let it arise. Don’t fight it.
L: And then another problem I have – when I listen, then I can’t recall half the stuff I have listened to.
AP: Listening is not about memorising.
So, even if it bypasses the memory don’t be worried. If you are really present to that, it may go to memory, it may not go to memory, and it would have still done its work. Chances are if you have really listened a lot of it won’t go to the memory. After the session, if somebody asks you: What did he say? What was the speaker saying? You will not be able to tell much.
(Listener laughs aloud)
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Don’t ask for a real Guru; be a real disciple
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