In spiritual life one meets two types of seekers. When the first wishes to see the master of the house, he goes to the gatekeeper and humbly asks if he will take him to the master. The gatekeeper, of course, complies since that is his business.
Now as they go along, the man may stop here and there to admire the gardens and then walks. But whenever he does this the gatekeeper reminds him of his mission, saying: “This way, please, if you wish to see the master. There will be plenty of time to look at the scenery later.” And thus he takes the man by the most direct route to the master. Then there is the way of the thief. This man asks no one, but climbs over a back fence. Since he has no idea where the master is, he must look here and there and spend a great deal of time in the search. He is afraid of the watchman and the master’s dogs so he climbs through windows. He darts in and out of back places, hoping no one will notice the few bananas he has filched from the garden.
Perhaps he wanders into the women’s quarters or falls into a pond! Finally he begins to hide himself even from the master. It is then that he realizes he did not really want to see him after all and goes away with his dishonest day’s earnings. The first, the sincere man, is the devotee who takes to a guru. The guru is the gatekeeper who leads us directly to the Lord. He is the servant of the Lord and therefore acts only according to the Lord’s will. Being His servant he is familiar not only with how to reach Him, but also with the various pitfalls along the way.
True gurus are very rare in this world, but true disciples are still rarer. It is in the nature of human beings to misunderstand the Divine Light and its workings in the guru. They simply cannot believe that anyone could love them selflessly and act only in their own best interests. And so, as soon as the guru puts the necessary pressure on the disciple’s ego, everything he says or does is apt to be misinterpreted.These little misunderstandings provide the fuel that supports the hostile attacks and pave the way for the disciple’s fall. The disciple comes to change himself but ends by wanting the guru to change, to come down to the disciple’s level. It is the pressure of the Light upon the disciple’s vital nature that causes these difficulties. Just as insects, lying still in a dark corner, suddenly come to life under a torchlight, so the hidden imperfections lying latent in human beings become restive when dazzled by the light of Grace. The pressure of this light is very difficult for the disciple to bear, and those who are unwilling to change sooner or later pack up and leave. Of course, it would be ever so much easier for the guru to simply let them go their own way and say, “Yes, yes, you’re wonderful.” They would feel much happier and there would be less strain on him.
But then they would both go to hell! The ego is so subtle and difficult to eradicate. It is like a sore. You can bandage it up, but eventually all the foreign matter will have to come out. By overlooking a disciple’s wrong movement, you may, indeed, obviate some temporary pain, but sooner or later he will have to pay for it.