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Stories on-guru-disciple


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Stories on-guru-disciple

  1. 1. Stories onGuru Disciple Relationship Eklavya paying guru-dakshina to Dronacharya
  2. 2. Stories OnGuru - Disciple Relationship
  3. 3. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship Table of Contents1. THE MOST PERFECT GURU AND MOST PERFECT DISCIPLE ............ 42. DHAUMYA TESTS UPAMANYU AND ARUNI ....................................... 53. SUTIKSHNA BOWS TO GURU BEFORE GOD ........................................ 94. DISCIPLE REALIZES GOD BY SHOVELLING COWDUNG ................ 105. EKALAVYAS DEVOTION TO DRONACHARYA ................................. 116. PURANPOLYA GETS EKNATHS GRACE ............................................. 127. KABIR SHOWS KAMAL TO BE A PERFECT DISCIPLE ...................... 138. NAMDEV HUMBLED AND GETS A GURU ........................................... 149. IMPORTANCE OF A GURU ACCORDING TO GURU NANAK ........... 1610. GRACE ON TOTAKACHARYA BY SANKARACHARYA .................. 1711. GURU ARJAN TESTS BHAI MANJH..................................................... 1812. BHAI GURUDAS TESTED BY GURU ARJAN ..................................... 2413. SON LEARNS STEALING ....................................................................... 2914. SHIBLI TESTS TWO DISCIPLES, ONE FIT AND ONE UNFIT ........... 3115. SUKADEVS TEST BY JANAKA ............................................................ 3316. GURU AMARDAS HAS DISCIPLES BUILT MUD PLATFORMS ....... 3917. KABIR HUMBLES DHARAMDAS, THE MERCHANT ........................ 4218. TWO FARMERS MISS THE GURUS DARSHAN ................................. 4519. JANAKA RECEIVES TRUE KNOWLEDGE FROM ASHTAVAKRA . 4720. KING OF BOKHARA SERVES KABIR FOR 12 YEARS ...................... 5221. THE IMPURE FIRE .................................................................................. 5722. BHAI BELLA GETS GURU GOBIND SINGHS GRACE ...................... 5923. THE FAITHFUL SERVANT .................................................................... 6324. GURU GOES TO PROSTITUTES HOUSE ............................................. 65 2
  4. 4. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship25. FIRST EMPTY YOURSELF BEFORE RECEIVING A TEACHING ..... 6826. THE TASTE OF BANSO’S SWORD ....................................................... 7027. MIDNIGHT EXCURSION ........................................................................ 7328. COMPETITION AMONGST DISCIPLES ............................................... 74 3
  5. 5. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 1. THE MOST PERFECT GURU AND MOST PERFECT DISCIPLEOnce there was a man who searched the wholeworld to find a Perfect Guru. But, unfortunately hecould not find one. All were either greedy,deceivers, fools or madmen. Finally he did find onewho fulfilled all his expectations. A friend of hisasked him, "What made you decide that he wasperfect?" He replied, "Oh, after talking to him, Icame to that conclusion." "And what did he say toyou?" his friend asked. "Well, he told me that I wasthe most perfect disciple in the world!" 4
  6. 6. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 2. DHAUMYA TESTS UPAMANYU AND ARUNIThe sage Dhaumya of Mahabharata fame was thehigh priest of the Pandavas. He had a big ashramand many disciples. Many children were sent thereto study. Regular classes were held and most of thechildren were asked to attend. But there were twowho were entrusted with other jobs and did notattend the classes. These were Upamanyu who wasgiven the charge of the cows and Aruni wholooked after the cultivation. The other boys madefun at their apparent dull-headedness, thinking thatthey were unfit for study, but those two boys werehappy and satisfied with their work. They weresurrendered to their Gurus will. Years passed and still these two boysdischarged their duties faithfully. The other boyscontinued to make fun of them. Dhaumya wasaware of the situation and decided to show theirgreatness to the rest of the ashramites. He calledUpamanyu one day and questioned him,"Upamanyu, what do you eat that you are growingso fat?" "Sir, I eat only what the ashram Mothergives me," replied the boy. "Well then, do not eat 5
  7. 7. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipanything from the ashram hereafter," said theGuru. A week passed when the master called thedisciple again. "One week has passed and you stillhave not lost any weight. What do you eat now-a-days?" asked Dhaumya. "Swami, when I am veryhungry I go out and beg for my food," repliedUpamanyu. "Dont you know that you aresupposed to give such food to the Guru?Henceforth, bring it here to me." But Dhaumyawould not give any of the begged food to the boyto eat. After some days the Guru called the boyagain. "Now what are you eating?" The boy replied,"When I am very hungry I drink a little milk fromthe cows." "Dont do that in future," said theGuru. Another week passed and the Guru calledthe boy. "You are still looking healthy. What areyou eating now-a-days?" "Sir, after the calves havefinished drinking the cows milk, there will be frothon their mouth. I lick up that froth and thus satisfymy hunger," replied the boy. "Do not do thathereafter," told Dhaumya. The poor Upamanyu could not find anythingto eat in the forest. His hunger also becameunbearable. He therefore drank the milk of apoisonous tree but this resulted in his losing his 6
  8. 8. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipsight. One evening while bringing in the cows, theblind boy fell into a dry well. The cows reached theashram without him. Seeing him missing, the Guruwent out in search of him calling, "Upamanyu,where are you?" Upamanyu was thrilled to hear his mastersvoice. "Master, here I am. I cannot see anythingbut I can hear your voice." "Son, meditate on thetwin gods Aswini Kumaras and you will become allright," told the Guru. Upamanyu did as he was toldand immediately the Aswins appeared and restoredhis sight. He came out of the well and prostrated athis Masters feet. Dhaumyas heart overflowed withaffection for his obedient disciple and he said,"May your knowledge be perfect in all theScriptures." In this way, Upamanyu became alearned scholar without even attending a class. Heis an example of implicit faith in the Guru. Now what about Aruni? Dhaumya once wentout to inspect the fields and told Aruni that thewater in the fields should not be allowed to escapeat any cost. A few days later there was a heavy rainand the bund around the field started to give way.Try as he may, Aruni could not stop the waterfrom flowing out. Finally, in desperation, he laid 7
  9. 9. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshiphis body down in the mud where the bund wasweak and in this way he plugged up the leak. Thenext morning the Guru and his disciples went outinto the fields to search for the missing boy, callinghis name out loud. Finding him buried in the mud,the Guru pulled him out and hugged himaffectionately. "May all the Scriptures come to youat your beck and call," was the blessing that theGuru gave Aruni while holding his hand on theboys head. It was this Aruni who later became thefamous Upanishadic sage Uddalaka. 8
  10. 10. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship3. SUTIKSHNA BOWS TO GURU BEFORE GODThere is a devotee in the Ramayana namedSutikshna, a disciple of Bharadwaja. One day hewas absorbed in meditation when Bharadwajaappeared at the door with Sri Rama. Sutikshna hadto think for a moment to whom to bow first, Godor Guru. He bowed to his Guru first because itwas his Guru who had showed him God. 9
  11. 11. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship4. DISCIPLE REALIZES GOD BY SHOVELLING COWDUNGA man went to a Guru desiring instruction. TheGuru said, "Thou art That." "Is that all?" asked theman. He was not satisfied and went to anotherGuru who understood his condition. "Well, youwill have to work very hard before I will instructyou," said this Guru. The disciple was ready to doanything. "All right, the only thing you have to dois shovel cow dung for twelve years," said the Guruand gave the man a shovel. After twelve years, theGuru called the man and told him, "Thou artThat." The disciple immediately realized Brahmanas his own Self. 10
  12. 12. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 5. EKALAVYAS DEVOTION TO DRONACHARYADronacharya refused to instruct Ekalavya in thescience of archery on the grounds that the boy didnot belong to the warrior (kshatriya) caste; he was atribal boy from the forest. Ekalavya went back tohis village, made a clay image of Drona andworshipped it with such concentration anddedication that he was able to imbibe all of Dronasskills and teachings, even the most secret. One day a dog ran through the ashram ofDrona with arrows shot between its teeth. Thiswonder was seen by everyone. Drona asked whohad done it. Only an expert like himself could havedone so. Everyone searched the area for the masterarcher and finally came across Ekalavya. "Wheredid you learn such skillful archery?" asked Drona.Ekalavya showed Drona the clay image that he hadbeen worshipping. "Though you rejected me, I didnot reject you and have learned by your grace,"replied Ekalavya. 11
  13. 13. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 6. PURANPOLYA GETS EKNATHS GRACEGauba was an illiterate and voracious boy wholoved a kind of sweet called puranpoli. He used tonag his poor, widowed mother for the sweets all ofthe time. Finally, out of disgust and desperation,she took him to the house of the great saintEknath and requested him to look after the boyand told him about the boys craziness forpuranpolis. Eknath saw some dorment spiritualityin the boy and accepted him as a disciple. InEknaths house he was able to get puranpoliseveryday and therefore was given the namePuranpolya. He became extremely devoted toEknath and served and worshipped him at alltimes. Eknath had been writing a commentary onthe Ramayana called the Bhavartha Ramayana.Now he knew that the time for his departure fromthis world had arrived, but he had still not finishedthe book. Touching Puranpolyas head, Eknathtransmitted his spiritual power to him. AfterEknaths departure, Puranpolya completed thecommentary and his verses were virtuallyindistinguishable from those written by his Guru. 12
  14. 14. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 7. KABIR SHOWS KAMAL TO BE A PERFECT DISCIPLESome devotees came to Kabir one day and askedhim, "Who is a true disciple?" Kabir called his sonand foremost disciple, Kamal. "I have dropped myspindle while weaving. Bring me a lamp so that Ican find it." It was broad daylight yet Kamalbrought a lamp without questioning. "Kamal, todaymany devotees will be coming here for lunch.Please prepare some sweets and add a handful ofsalt to them," said Kabir. Kamal obeyed implicitly.Turning to the devotees, Kabir said, "Dont youthink that Kamal knew that my commands wereridiculous? But the moment you begin to obey theGurus command without question, that momentmeditation comes to you spontaneously and theLord grants His darshan." 13
  15. 15. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 8. NAMDEV HUMBLED AND GETS A GURUNamdev had been having the vision of the Lord atPandharpur since his childhood and therefore hada bit of self-pride that he was something special.The Lord decided that it was necessary forNamdev to have a Guru. A feast for the saints wasarranged at the village of the potter-saint Gora,whereat the saints were each tested by Gora thepotter. Jnaneswar asked Gora to test each of thepots to see which ones were fully baked in theKnowledge of Brahman. They were asked to sit ina line while Gora hit each one of them on the headwith a stick. All of them humbly submitted to this,but Namdev refused to be hit. All the saintslaughed at him, calling him half-baked. He wentrunning to the Lord who comforted him and toldhim that unless he attained Enlightenment, hewould not understand the significance of the saintsactions. For that purpose, He asked Namdev to goto Vishoba Kechara who was staying in a Shivatemple on the outskirts of some village. Reaching there, he entered the temple andsaw an old man lying down with his feet resting onthe Shiva Lingam. Indignant at this sacrilege, 14
  16. 16. Stories on Guru - Disciple RelationshipNamdev clapped his hands to wake up the oldman. Waking with a start, the old man sawNamdev and said, "Oh, you are that Namdev whoVittal has sent, arent you?" Namdev was shockedand thought that this man must be a great being.He said, "You seem to be a great man, but why areyou resting your feet on the Lingam?" "Oh, arethey on the Lingam? Please remove them for me. Iam very tired," said the saint. Namdev lifted theold mans legs and placed them in various spots,but wherever he put them, a Shiva Lingamappeared on the spot. Finally, he put them in hisown lap and himself attained the State of Shiva. Please note that it was only after hesurrendered himself to the Guru and touched hisfeet did Enlightenment come to him. NowVishoba Kechara asked him to go. He returned tohis village and spent most of his time in his house.Noticing that Namdev was not coming to thetemple anymore, Vittal went to his house andenquired why. "You cannot fool me anymore, OLord. Where is it that You are not? And can I existin any way apart from You?" It was to learn thislesson that the Lord sent him to a Guru. 15
  17. 17. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 9. IMPORTANCE OF A GURU ACCORDING TO GURU NANAKOne day Govinda Singh asked his teacher GuruNanak about the importance of the Guru. "Thebetter you become as a disciple, the better you willunderstand about the Guru," replied Nanak. Hethen gave a jewel to him and asked him to take it tothe market to get it priced by various people andthen bring it back. A flower seller offered Govindaone rupee; a fruit vendor offered him three apples;a petty goldsmith offered him a hundred rupeeswhile another jeweller offered him a thousandrupees. One of the best jewellers offered himtwenty-thousand rupees while the best jeweller inthe town told him, "This is invaluable. Dont sell itfor any amount." 16
  18. 18. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 10. GRACE ON TOTAKACHARYA BY SANKARACHARYAGiri was a humble and devoted disciple ofSankaracharya. One day he was washing the sagesclothes when the scriptural class began. The otherstudents made fun of him in front of the Acharya.Sankara felt compassionate towards Giri andwanted to teach a lesson to the proud students.Even as Giri was washing the clothes, theknowledge of all the scriptures spontaneouslyflashed on his mind due to the special transmissionof Grace by his Guru. He came running to theclass reciting beautiful Sanskrit verses composedextemporaneously in the difficult totaka metre. Theother students were humbled. Giri was later giventhe name Totakacharya. 17
  19. 19. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 11. GURU ARJAN TESTS BHAI MANJHBhai Manjh was a wealthy landlord who owned awhole village. His form of devotion was to worshipthe tomb of a holy man named Sakhi Sarwar. Butone day he heard the Sikh Guru Arjan during asatsang which made such a profound impressionon him that he decided to seek initiation from theGuru. Guru Arjan was an omniscient being yet heasked him whom he was following at present, towhich he replied the name of the deceased saint. "Iwill grant you initiation after you have gone back toyour house and dismantled your puja room," saidthe Guru. Manjh ran to his house as fast as hecould and tore down every brick of the room. Anumber of people who had gathered to watch himsolemnly warned him, "Bhai, you will have to payvery heavily for the desecration of this holy room.We would not like to be in your shoes." Manjh boldly replied, "I have done itwillingly and am ready to suffer any and allconsequences." When he returned to the Guru, theMaster bestowed initiation on him. 18
  20. 20. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship But it was destined that he should be put tostill further tests. Soon his horse died, then someof his bullocks. Thieves took some of hispossessions. Then the people began to taunt him,saying, "This is the result of the disrespect shownto Sakhi Sarwar. You should go and rebuild thetemple in your home." But none of this botheredManjh. He said, "I do not care what happens. MyGuru is all-knowing and he knows what is best. Ofthat, nothing can shake my belief." But one misfortune then followed another,and before long he was not only destitute, butowed money to many people. All of themdemanded immediate repayment saying, "Eitherpay us or leave the village immediately." Many ofhis friends pleaded with him saying, "If you wouldonly rebuild the temple, things would be sure totake a turn for the better." But Manjh remainedadamant and preferred to leave the village. So heand his wife and daughter packed up their fewremaining belongings and found shelter in anothervillage. As he had been a rich landlord, he hadnever had to learn a trade. But it was nownecessary for him to earn some money, so he 19
  21. 21. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipbegan to make his livelihood by cutting and sellinggrass. Several months went by in this way, whenone day Guru Arjan sent Manjh a letter which wasdelivered by one of his disciples. To the disciple,the Guru said, "Please be sure to demand twentyrupees as an offering before you give Bhai Manjhthe letter. If he does not pay you, bring back theletter." Manjh was delighted to see the letter, buthe had no money to pay the fee. He asked his wifewhat to do and she said, "I will take my ornamentsand those of my daughter and sell them to thegoldsmith." The goldsmith offered them exactlytwenty rupees which was given to the disciple.Manjh received the letter, kissed it and held it tohis heart. At that moment he went into samadhi. But the Guru wished to test him still further,and so he told one of his disciples, "Ask BhaiManjh to come to my ashram." Manjh and hisfamily ran to the Gurus ashram and settled downthere. They went to work in the kitchen cleaningvessels and cutting firewood. After a few days, theGuru asked, "Where does Bhai Manjh take hisfood?" "He eats with all the rest of us, getting hisfood from the free kitchen," replied one of the 20
  22. 22. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipdisciples. "It seems to me," said the Guru, "that heis not doing real service, for then he would expectnothing in return for his work. He is charging usfor his wages, which he takes in the form of food." When Manjh heard this from his wife, hesaid, "I want nothing in return for service to thebeloved Guru, who has given me the priceless gemof my mantra. We will get our food by some othermeans." So from that day onwards, he went to theforest each night to cut wood and sold it in thebazaar and used the proceeds to buy food. Duringthe daytime, he and his wife continued to work inthe kitchen. Some time later, Manjh had gone to theforest to cut wood when there was a great windstorm. The wind was so fierce that it blew him andhis bundle of wood into a well. The Guru wasaware of everything and called some of hisdisciples and told them to get a board and somerope and follow him to the forest. When they reached the forest, the Guru said,"Bai Manjh is at the bottom of this well. Shoutdown to him and tell him that we will lower aboard tied to a rope. Tell him to cling to the boardand we will put him out." He also added some 21
  23. 23. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipwords privately to one disciple, the one who was tocall into the well. After shouting into the well, the discipleadded, "Brother, see the wretched condition youare in. And it is all due to the way the Guru hastreated you. Why dont you forget a Guru whodoes such things?" "What? Forget the belovedGuru? Never!" shouted Bhai Manjh. "And as foryou, ungrateful one, please never again speak sodisrespectfully of the Guru in my presence. Itmakes me suffer agony to hear such shamefulwords." Manjh was then asked to catch hold of theboard but he insisted that the wood be pulled outof the well first. "It is for the Gurus kitchen and Iam afraid that it will get wet and not burn," he said.Finally he came out of the well and came face toface with the Satguru who said to him, "Brother, you have gone through many trialsand have met all of them with courage, faith anddevotion to the Satguru. Please ask for some gift orboon. You have earned it and it would make mevery happy to give it to you." At this, Bhai Manjh fell on his knees beforehis beloved Master and with tears streaming down 22
  24. 24. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshiphis cheeks, he exclaimed, "What boon could I wishfor but you alone? Nothing else could ever be ofany interest to me." Upon hearing these words spoken from hisheart, the Guru embraced Bhai Manjh and said, "Manjh is the darling of his Guru, And Guru is Manjhs only love. Manjh now, like the Guru, Is a ship that carries people safely across The ocean of life and death." Kabir prayed, "Give me the gift of devotion,O my Guru. Nothing else do I desire except Thyservice day and night." "If ye love me and keep my commandments,then are ye my disciples indeed," said the Christ. 23
  25. 25. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship12. BHAI GURUDAS TESTED BY GURU ARJANBhai Gurudas was the uncle and devoted discipleof the Sikh Guru Arjan. At one time he composedthe following couplets and read them to the Guru: If a mother is impious, it is not for her son topunish her; If a cow swallows a diamond, her stomachshould not be cut open; If a husband is unfaithful, the wife shouldnever imitate him or lose her chastity; If a high caste lady takes to wine, peopleshould not take it ill; If the Guru test his disciple, the disciplesfaith should not waver. Guru Arjan listened attentively as Gurudasread. When he finished, the Guru thought, "Allthese things are easier said than done. Let me testhis faith." Turning to Gurudas, he said, "Uncle, Ihave to buy some horses at Kabul. Will you be ableto do this for me?" "Why not? Certainly," repliedGurudas. 24
  26. 26. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship Accordingly, the Guru filled several bagswith gold sovereigns. Gurudas counted them, andthen sealed the bags and put them into strongwooden boxes. These were loaded onto the backsof mules and he along with a number of disciplesstarted out on the long and arduous journey toKabul from Lahore where the Guru was residing.In due course, after passing through the KhyberPass, they reached Kabul amoung the mountainsof Hindu Kush. In the great horse market of this ancient city,Gurudas bargained with the horse traders andfinally purchased the best horses that he couldfind. These were taken by the other disciples whowere to take them slowly to Lahore. Meanwhile,Gurudas asked the horse traders to come to histent to be paid. Leaving them outside, he enteredthe tent to get the gold. Opening a few of the boxes, he took out theneeded bags but felt that something was wrong. Heopened all of the bags and to his horror he foundthat every one of them was filled with pebblesinstead of gold. He was now beside himself withfear, for he knew the savage nature of the horsedealers. "There they are waiting outside the tent for 25
  27. 27. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipme to pay them, and if I dont, they will cut me topieces," he thought. He taxed his brain and finallydecided that the only that he might escape was tocut the back of the tent and escape through thehole. He did not even pray to his Guru for help, sofull of terror was he. Jumping through the hole, heescaped and ran away at full speed. Ashamed toface his Guru, he passed through Lahore and madehis way all the way to Kashi, hundreds of miles tothe east. Meanwhile, the other members of his partyentered his tent to find out why he was delaying inpaying the horse dealers. There they found all ofthe boxes open and filled with gold, but there wasno sign of Gurudas. They also saw the hole in theback of the tent. They then paid the horse tradersand made their way back to Lahore where they toldGuru Arjan about all that had happened. After Gurudas had settled down in Kashi, hestarted to expound the great truths of thescriptures in public places and soon attracted alarge crowd. Finally, even the Governor of Kashialso came to hear and admire his beautifuldiscourses. 26
  28. 28. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship After a few months, Guru Arjan sent a letterto the Governor of Kashi in which he wrote,"There is a thief of mine in Kashi and I am writingto ask you kindly to take him prisoner, tie hishands and send him to me. You will not have tosearch hard for this thief. The mere reading of thisletter in places of public assembly and religiousdiscourses will find him, for the thief will himselfspeak out upon hearing the letter read." In due course, the letter was read whereGurudas was giving a discourse to a large crowd ofpeople. But the moment he heard the letter, hestood up and said, "I am the Gurus thief." Hislisteners were stunned. "You could never be athief, for you are a holy man. The thief must besomeone else," they said. But Gurudas insisted,"No, it is I who am the thief. there is no doubtabout it. Please tie my hands so that I do notescape." No one came forward to do so, for it wasunthinkable to tie up a holy man like a commonrobber. So Gurudas unbound his turban andcutting it in two, he tied his own hands with it.Tied like this, he then happily made his way to 27
  29. 29. Stories on Guru - Disciple RelationshipLahore. When he finally reached there and stoodbefore the Guru, the Guru said, "Brother, please repeat those couplets youread to me just before I asked you to go to Kabul." But Gurudas, having been tested and putthrough some bitter experiences to try his love andfaith, fell at the Gurus feet and exclaimed, "If a mother gives poison to her son, Who is it that will save him? If the watchman breaks into the house, Who can protect it? If a guide misleads the traveller, Who can set him on the right path? If the fence starts to eat the crop, who cansave it? Even so, if the Guru tests the disciples, Who can help them to remain steadfast?" Only the Satguru, through his spiritual powerand grace, can keep the disciple steadfast and filledwith devotion under trying circumstances. 28
  30. 30. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 13. SON LEARNS STEALINGNoticing that his father was growing old, the sonof a burglar said, "Father, teach me your trade sothat when you retire I may carry on the familytradition." The father did not reply but that night hetook the boy along with him to break into a house.Once inside, he opened a closet and asked his sonto find out what was inside. No sooner had the ladstepped in then the father slammed the door shutand bolted it making such a noise in the processthat the whole house was awakened. Then hehimself slipped quietly away. Inside the closet the boy was terrified, angryand puzzled as to how he was going to make hisescape. Then an idea came to him. He began tomake a noise like a cat; whereupon a servant lit acandle and opened the closet to let the cat out. Theboy jumped out as soon as the closet door openedand everyone gave chase. Observing a well besidethe road he threw a large stone into it and hid inthe shadows; then stole away while his pursuerspeered into the depths hoping to see the burglardrown. 29
  31. 31. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship Back home again the boy forgot his anger inhis eagerness to tell his story. But his father said."Why tell me the tale? You are here. That isenough. You have learnt the trade." 30
  32. 32. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 14. SHIBLI TESTS TWO DISCIPLES, ONE FIT AND ONE UNFITTwo men once came to a Mahatma named Shiblifor initiation. The saint saw that one was deservingand the other was not. He therefore told them tocome to him separately, since each would have tobe dealt with differently. When the first one came, the swami askedhim to recite a verse in praise of God. "Whatwould you like me to say?" asked the man. "God isOne; there is none except Him; and Shibli is Hisprophet" said Shibli. "O God, save me from this!" shouted theman. "Why do you speak like this? What do youmean? Are you out of your mind?" The saint said, "Please, friend, why do youspeak like this?" Without hesitation, the man said, "Why, it isperfectly plain to see. What are you? Nothing but acommon sadhu. There are hundreds like you,without any particular greatness. Yet you claim tobe a holy prophet of God Himself. And now, youimposture, why did you utter such words?"demanded the man. 31
  33. 33. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship "I uttered them because I was almost on thepoint of giving away a priceless gift to anundeserving person. My friend, you should nothave come to me. It would be better if you wouldgo to some priest in a temple," said the saint withgreat kindness. When the second man came, Shibli askedhim to repeat the same verse. "O, what a great pity!If you are only a prophet, then I have no need ofyou," said the man. "What was it then, that youwere seeking, brother?" asked the saint. "Why, Iwas looking for one who is one with God. I havebeen told that such God-men exist and that theycan teach their disciples how to become one withGod. I heard that you were one such man, but nowit turns out that you are only a prophet." Sadly, the man turned to go. Shibli thentouched him on the shoulder and the manexperienced a deep ecstacy. Shibli said tohim,"Brother, you are the deserving one forinitiation. Have no doubts; I will initiate you intothe mysteries of God." Only the Guru who is onewith God deserves to be called a Guru and onlysuch a one can take us to Him. 32
  34. 34. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 15. SUKADEVS TEST BY JANAKASukhadev was the son of the great rishi Vedavyasa,and due to his previous samskaras, he wasendowed with True Knowledge even while in thewomb of his mother. As a child, he used to spendall of his time meditating in the forest near hisfathers ashram. One day while he was meditating, a desirearose in his mind to go to Vaikuntha to see LordVishnu. However, when he reached there, thegatekeepers informed Lord Vishnu who came andtold him, "We are very sorry, but you have noGuru and those without a Guru can never enterhere." Suka returned to his father and told him whathad happened. He was a bit vain and proud,thinking that he was the son of a great rishi, that hehad already done so many years of tapas, and sothere was no need of a Guru. However, as LordVishnu Himself had said that a Guru wasnecessary, Suka sought his fathers advice as towho he should select as his Guru. His father toldhim, 33
  35. 35. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship "There is only one Guru for you and that isKing Janaka of Videha." "Father, have you lost your mind? What isthere in common between a king and a sannyasi?How can I take him as my Guru?" asked Suka. "There is nobody else who could be yourGuru," replied the sage. Twelve times the sage sent the boy to KingJanaka and twelve times he returned even beforereaching there due to his doubts and misgivings.Once he even reached the palace, but on seeing therichness of the palace and the great assemblage ofworldly people, he thought that the king must beone who is given up to sensual pleasure, and so hewas not prepared to accept him as his Master. The more doubts and suspicions one hasabout a Realized Soul, the more one harms oneself.Suspecting or slandering a Mahatma destroys onesmerits (punyam). When Suka was being sent backto the king for the thirteenth time, the sage Naradatook pity on him. He disguised himself as an oldbrahmin and was carrying a basket of earth on hishead. As he approached a small river which wasflowing nearby, he would throw the earth into itand it would get washed away. Seeing this, Suka 34
  36. 36. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipaccosted him and said, "Look here, old man. Firstput some sticks across the stream and then somelarge lumps of earth on them and then only throwthe earth on that. Otherwise it will be only fruitlesslabour if you are trying to build a dam across theriver the way you are doing it." "I am only losing my days effort," saidNarada, "but there is a young man who is a biggerfool than I am, and he is Suka Deva, the son ofVedavyasa. For he has already lost twelve of thefourteen merits that he possessed. He has only twoleft." When Suka heard this, he fell down in a faint.When he regained consciousness, he was all alone,but he remembered the words of the old man andrushed to the kings palace. Still having some pride that he was the son ofVedavyasa, he thought that the king would comeand meet him on the way. But no one came tomeet him. When the king was informed of hisarrival, he gave the orders, "Let him stand rightwhere he is." Suka just happened to be standing onthe spot where the palace garbage was thrown overthe wall, and as a result, it was not long before hewas buried under the refuse. 35
  37. 37. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship Four days passed in this way when the kingenquired, "What happened to Suka who had cometo see me?" "He has been standing in the samespot, Maharaj," replied the servant."Let him beextricated from the heap of rubbish, bathed,dressed and brought here," ordered the king. King Janaka, knowing that Suka was proudof his renunciation, created an illusion. Just afterSuka entered the room, a servant came running inwith a report that the entire town was on fire. "Itsall Gods Will," said Janaka cooly. After a shortwhile another report came that all of the kingscourts were reduced to ashes. "Gods Will," saidthe king. Then the news came that the kings ownpalace was on fire. "All Gods Will," repeated theking. Suka was thinking what a fool the king wasnot to do anything about the fire. Suka grabbed hisbag and started to run away to save himself fromthe approaching fire, but the king caught hold ofhis arm. "Look," said the king, "all of my wealth andpossessions have been burnt to ashes, but I haventbothered about them. Now that the fire hasreached the palace, you have taken hold of thissmall bundle of your possessions with the intention 36
  38. 38. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipof saving them. After all, what are your thingsworth? Now, who exactly is the greater renunciate- you or I?" Suka realized that the king was a truerenunciate and sought initiation from him but theking said, "You do not deserve it." Now the king ordered that a great festival beheld in honour of Sukas visit to the city.Festivities, dances, plays and various stalls were setup. All was to entertain Suka. When everything wasready, the king ask Suka to go through the city andenjoy everything, "But," said the king, "please carrythis full cup of milk with you wherever you go."He then bade the soldiers who were to accompanySuka, "Take Suka through every part of the city.Let him see everything and miss nothing. But if heshould spill a single drop of milk from this cup, myorders are that you should behead him on thespot." Suka went out with the soldiers and cameback in the evening. "I am sure that you had a nicetime? How did you enjoy everything?" "O king, as it turned out, I saw nothing, forat every moment all of my thoughts were 37
  39. 39. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipconcentrated on this cup, lest I should spill a dropand lose my life," said Suka. "Suka, that is how I live in the midst of allthis luxury and grandeur. I see nothing. For atevery moment my thoughts are centered on theLord lest I too should lose my life," said the king."Imagine that the cup is death, the milk is yourmind, and the festivities are the ephemeralpleasures and splendours of the world. I passthrough this world with great caution, so that themilk of the mind is not spilled, or agitated, and allattention is concentrated every moment on Him.For even a moment spent in not thinking of Himwould be death to me." The king could now see that Sukas mind wascleansed of pride and was ready, so he initiatedhim. 38
  40. 40. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 16. GURU AMARDAS HAS DISCIPLES BUILT MUD PLATFORMSWhen the Sikh Guru Amardas was 105 years old,he wanted to appoint a successor, but as there weremany candidates, he decided to put them allthrough a test. He asked each one of them to getsome earth and build a mud platform. Everyone ran and got a basket of earth andthen built a platform. When all of them werecompleted, the Guru said, "I am sorry, but theseplatforms are not as good as I expected them tobe. Will you please tear them down and build themover again?" This was done and then the Guru said, "Thisis not a suitable place for these. Please tear themdown and build them on that piece of land overthere." When this was done, the Guru came toinspect them. "Hmm, I dont like this piece of landeither. So why dont you build your platforms overthere?" said the Guru. Many of the disciples thought that the Guruhad become senile in his old age and was no longerin full possession of his senses. So much so, many 39
  41. 41. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipof them abandoned the work, leaving only a few.But even when these few built up their platforms,the Guru continued to reject them again and again. After some time, there was only one manleft, a middle-aged man named Ramdas. Seeinghim continue to build and tear down platforms, theother disciples taunted and jeered at him, tellinghim how foolish he was to try to please the Guru,since he did not seem to be in his right mind.Ramdas stopped his work for a moment and saidto them, "Brother, the whole world is blind, but ifthere is one man who can see, it is the Satguru.Then, too, the whole world is mad. It is only theSatguru who is sane." They then told him that bothhe and the Guru were no doubt out of their minds."You may say whatever you like about my humbleself, but do not utter a single disrespectful wordabout my Satguru. Even if I should have to makeplatforms for the rest of my life in obedience to hiswishes, by his grace I would continue to do so,"said Ramdas. In the end, Ramdas cheerfully made andremade the platforms seventy times in all. ThenGuru Amardas said to him, "You may stop 40
  42. 42. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipbuilding now, Ramdas. I am very pleased with you.For you alone have given me implicit obedienceand complete surrender to my will and wishes."Turning to the others, he said, "There was not oneof you who cheerfully obeyed one of the first rulesof being a true disciple - to give the Guru your fulllove and devotion, have utter faith in him and obeyhis wishes with a cheerful heart." The Guru thenmade Ramdas the next Sikh Guru.The disciple who serves at the Gurus feet,and patiently obeys the Gurus orders,And abandons his will to the True Guru-such a mans doings shall prosper. (Guru Arjan) 41
  43. 43. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 17. KABIR HUMBLES DHARAMDAS, THE MERCHANTDharamdas was a wealthy merchant who had beena companion of Kabirs in his previous life. Kabirwanted to grant him Liberation and therefore wentto his house. At that time, Dharamdas and his wife,Amna, were sitting near a wooden fire. Kabir said, "You are a very great sinner, my friend, foryou kill jivas." Amna was annoyed and said, "My husband isnot a sinner; it is you who are the sinner foraccusing my husband like this." "Please cut open the piece of wood there andsee what you are actually burning," replied Kabir.He then got up and went away. Dharamdas then cut open the wood andfound that it was full of ants. Seeing this, herepented and told his wife that it was her badtemper that had driven the saint away. If he hadunderstood Kabirs greatness before, he wouldhave sought initiation from him and obtainedpeace. Amna said, "Wherever there is anything sweet, there isno dearth of flies. You are a wealthy man and once 42
  44. 44. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipyou announce that you are giving a great feast, thesaints will come of themselves and this one (Kabir)will be among them." So, at her suggestion, he gave a great feast atKashi, where Kabir lived, but Kabir did not come.The same sort of feast was held in other pilgrimageplaces, but Kabir never came to any of them. Dharamdas grew more and moredownhearted as the years passed, for he could notfind Kabir. Finally he decided to drown himself inthe Ganga. As he was walking along the bank, hesaw Kabir sitting there. Falling at his feet, he asked, "Why didnt you meet me earlier so that Icould have served you with all the wealth that Ipossessed? Now I am a pauper, having spent all ofmy wealth in giving feasts to attract you." Kabirreplied, "That is just why I did not wish to meet youbefore this. If you still possessed your great wealthand were attached to it, you would not be ready forinitiation. Also, if I had met you then, you wouldhave thought that I was greedy and that the saints,as your wife told you, are attracted by the wealth ofseekers. Now you are no longer intoxicated bywealth and your mind is not poisoned by false 43
  45. 45. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipideas. You have been forced to learn humility andhave developed the insatiable longing for a Guruwhich arises in the hearts of all true seekers. Sonow you are ready to receive initiation."Dharamdas later rose to such spiritual heights thatKabir appointed him as his successor.Though thou art like a guest for the night,Who must part betimes in the morning,Thou makest thyself busy with the worlds affairs.Remember, this is a garden of flowers that mustfade. (Guru Arjan) 44
  46. 46. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 18. TWO FARMERS MISS THE GURUS DARSHANTwo farmers were both steeped in the love of theirGuru. They would never start their daily dutiesuntil they had sat in meditation for some hours andhad witnessed the form of their Master. Such sincere seekers are always and invariablyput through tests of faith by the Guru. During thegrowing season, these two farmers were sitting inmeditation. It was the day that the reservoir wouldrelease water for the farmers cultivation. But onthat day, in spite of the fact that they sat for a longtime, they did not get the darshan of their Guru.One said to the other, "I am not seeing the Master within today." "I too have failed," said the other. "But if wedont go to the fields soon, we will miss our chanceto get the water and our crops will die." "Let them die, for they belong to theSatguru," said the other farmer with devotionalfervour. With this attitude, they both sat down againfor meditation, and lo! the radiant form of theirMaster immediately appeared before them. 45
  47. 47. Stories on Guru - Disciple RelationshipJust as metal is pruified by melting it in fire,So does a true lover of God become transmutedinto gold by successfully passing through a trial.(Kabir) 46
  48. 48. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 19. JANAKA RECEIVES TRUE KNOWLEDGE FROM ASHTAVAKRAKing Janaka had read that Knowledge could beattained in the time it takes to mount a horse. Hebecame eager for attaining spiritual knowledge andcalled a meeting of all the rishis, scholars andmahatmas in the land and had a stage built. Hesaid, "Whoever can reveal to me True Knowledgein the length of time that it takes to mount a horse,please come and sit on the stage." The assembledcrowd thought that this was an impossible requestand so kept quiet. Just then, an ugly hunchback with bent limbs,entered the court. The people laughed and jeered athim in their ignorance. After receiving their insults,the hunchback started to laugh. When asked as towhy he was laughing, he said, "I was under theimpression that this was a meeting of saints andsages, and not of cobblers and dealers inprostitution." The king asked him what he meant by that."Judging the beauty and appearance of the skin isthe work of cobblers and people who deal withprostitutes," replied the hunchback. Hearing this 47
  49. 49. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipreply, the king realized that he was a Realized Souland sought Knowledge from him. His name wasAshtavakra (one whose limbs are bent in eightplaces). Ashtavakra asked, "O king, are you sure thatyou really want your request granted?" "There is no doubt whatever in my mind,"replied the king. "I am seeking for the TrueKnowledge with the utmost earnestness." The sage then turned to the assembled holymen and asked, "Is there anyone among you whocan impart True Knowldege to the kng, and thattoo, quickly?" There was utter silence. Addressing the king,Ashtavakra said, "King Janaka, there is a price thatmust be paid for obtaining this. Are you preparedto pay it, no matter what it may be?" "Yes," said the king. "Then I will tell you the price. The priceconsists of three things that you must give me -your body, your mind, and your wealth. Is thisagreeable to you?" "Yes," replied the king. Ashtavakra then said, "You should think thismatter over very carefully, and only after thorough 48
  50. 50. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipdeliberation should you promise to hand over tome these three things." "I have already given the matter the mostcareful thought. There is no doubt whatever in mymind. I will be glad to pay the price," said the king. "Now that you have surrendered everythingto me, will you please leave your throne and comedown and sit where all the shoes of your subjectsare lying?" said Ashtavakra> The king was quite annoyed at this, but soonrealized that he had already given everything to therishi. So he quietly left his throne and sat amongthe shoes. When Ashtavakra made this request, hewas aware that many people do not advancespiritually because of their sense of ego, honourand glory. When the king had seated himself amongstthe shoes, the sage told him, "Now, please do not allow your mind tothink of your wealth, since you now have nowealth of your own to think about. It all belongs tome." At that time, the king had in fact beenthinking about his treasury, palace, kingdom andfamily. Now he realized that nothing belonged tohim and he gave up the thought of these things. 49
  51. 51. Stories on Guru - Disciple RelationshipLike a bird in mid-ocean that comes back to theship, the kings mind returned to its center. "This mind is now mine. You have no rightto think with it or to desire with it," said the sage.The king withdrew his attention from all objectiveexistence and concentrated his mind within. Dueto the gracious glance of the rishi, his mind wentup to the higher planes of spiritual existence andmerged in the Inner Bliss. He became silent andstill. After some time, the sage brought the kingsmind down to the body and said, "Have youobtained the True Knowledge that you requested?" "Yes, Mahatmaji, and it is far greater,glorious and blissful than I had ever dreamed itcould be," said the king. Ashtavakra said, "O king, I have no need foryour body, mind or wealth and so I return them toyou. You are to act as a trustee and use them onmy behalf. By giving up everything, you havereceived the All.I will tell you the truth - the real mark of a discipleis that amidst a sea of desires, he is desireless. Such 50
  52. 52. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipa one undoubtedly is accepted by the Creator.(Guru Nanak) 51
  53. 53. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 20. KING OF BOKHARA SERVES KABIR FOR 12 YEARSIbrahim Adham was the king of Bokhara in Persia.He was very fond of the spiritual way of life andalways sought the company of saints. However, helived in such luxury that he slept on a bed that wasat all times covered with one foot of flowers. Oneday, when he was about to lie down, he heard anoise on the roof of the palace above his room. Oninvestigation, he found two men roaming up there. "What are you doing here?" he asked themsharply. "Sir, we are camel drivers and are searchingfor our lost camels," they replied. Amazed at theirstupidity, he said to them, "How do you ever expect to find camels onthe roof of a palace?" "In the same way that you are trying torealize God in your bed of flowers," they replied. This reply greatly shocked the king andchanged his way of life completely. He left hiskingdom for India in order to find a RealizedGuru. When he reached Kashi, he heard about 52
  54. 54. Stories on Guru - Disciple RelationshipKabir. Going to his house, he asked him to accepthim as a disciple. Kabir said, "There is nothing in commonbetween a king and a common weaver like myselfand two such different persons could hardly get ontogether." But the king pleaded with him and said, "Ihave not come to your door as a king but as abeggar. Again I beg of you the boon which I seek."Loi, Kabirs wife, asked him to accept the king andso Kabir acceded to her request. The king was given the menial work of thehouse - cleaning the wool and thread, bringingwater and firewood and other such jobs. Six yearspassed and the king did all the work without amurmur. One day, Loi entreated Kabir, saying, "This king has now been with us for six longyears, has been eating what we offered him, andhas been doing what we have ordered him to do,without uttering a word of complaint. He appearsto be highly deserving of initiation." Kabir said, "As far as I can see, the kingsmind is not yet crystal clear." But Loi againentreated the saint saying that she could not believethat he was unfit for initiation. Kabir replied, "The 53
  55. 55. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipbest way to prove it to yourself is to do what I askyou to do, and thereafter come and tell me whatyou heard from his mouth. Please go on the top ofthe roof and, as the king comes into the street,throw the entire sweepings of the house upon hishead." Loi did as she was told and as the rubbish fellon the kings head, he looked up and sighed, "Ifonly this were Bokhara, you would not have dareddo this to me." Loi returned to her husband and told himwhat the king had said. "Didnt I tell you that theking was not yet fully deserving of initiation?" saidKabir. Another six years passed during which theking worked just as hard as he had during the firstsix. One day, Kabir said to his wife, "Now thevessel is completely ready to receive the gift." Hiswife said, "I do not find any difference between thecondition of the king six years ago and now. Hehas been ever dutiful and willing and has neveruttered a word of complaint even on days whenthere was not enough food to feed him. Kabir said,"If you want to see the difference, you may onceagain throw the rubbish on his head. 54
  56. 56. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship So the next day, when the king was passingthe house, she did exactly as her husband had toldher. The king looked up and said, "May you livelong. This mind was still full of ego and self. It hadto be treated this way." Loi then went and told her husband what theking said. He called the king and gazed at him. Bythe power of Kabirs gaze, the kings mind went upand up and merged into the Supreme Being. "Your sadhana is complete. Now you hadbetter return to your kingdom," said Kabir. The king went back to his country but not asa king. He lived as a sannyasi by the side of theTigris River. One day he was sitting by the riverstitching his cloth with a small needle and thread.Just then, a man from the royal court who was outhunting, rode by on his horse. He recognized theking and enquired whether he was the same personto which the king replied in the affirmative. Theman said, "Your Majesty, I am your prime minister andhave raised your children in your absence. They areall now grown up and well. I request you to returnto your throne." 55
  57. 57. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship On hearing this, the king threw his needleinto the river. "Can you get the needle back forme?" asked the king. "It is not possible to do that,but if Your Majesty can wait a little while, I canbring a hundred thousand such needles from thecity," said the minister. "No, I am interested only inmy own needle," said the king. "Sir, the water isvery deep and the current is rapid. It is absolutelyimpossible for anyone to recover that needle," saidthe minister. The king then gazed at the river and lo! asmall fish jumped out of the water, placed theneedle that was in its mouth at the feet of the king,and jumped back into the river. The king said, "What would I do with your kingdom when Ihave now gone into the Court of the Lord whorules over all the universe? Please go and dowhatever you like. I am not interested in yourkingdom."Love not this world for a single instant; birth,death, and return consume the body everymoment; the lure of the world enslaves body, mindand soul; through Knowledge some enlightenedsaint obtains release. (Dadu) 56
  58. 58. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 21. THE IMPURE FIREOn his journey to Rabbi Elimelekh whom--afterthe death of the Great Maggid--he had chosen forhis second teacher, young Jacob Yitzak, later therabbi of Lublin, came to a little town, and in theHouse of Prayer heard the rav of that place recitingthe Morning Prayer with deep fervor. He stayedwith him over the sabbath and noticed the samefervor in all he said and did. When he came toknow him a little better, he asked him whether hehad ever served a zaddik. The answer was "no."This surprised Jacob Yitzhak, for the way cannot belearned out of a book, or from hearsay, but canonly be communicated from person to person. Heasked the devout rav to go to his teacher with him,and he agreed. But when they crossed RabbiElimelekhs threshold, he did not come forward tomeet his disciple with his customary affectionategreeting, but turned to the window and paid noattention to his visitors. Jacob Yitzhak realized thatthe rejection was directed to his companion, tookthe violently excited rav to an inn and returnedalone. Rabbi Elimelekh advanced toward him,greeted him fondly, and then said: "What struck 57
  59. 59. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipyou, my friend, to bring with you a man in whoseface I can see the tainted image of God?" JacobYitzhak listened to these words in dismay, but didnot venture to reply or to ask a question. ButRabbi Elimelekh understood what was going onwithin him and continued: "You know that there isone place lit only by the planet Venus, where goodand evil are blended. Sometimes a man begins toserve God and ulterior motives and pride enterinto his service. Then, unless he makes a very greateflort to change, he comes to live in that dim placeand does not even know it. He is even able to exertgreat fervor, for close by is the place of the impurefire. From there he fetches his blaze and kindles hisservice with it, and does not know from where hehas taken the flame." Jacob Yitzhak told the stranger the words ofRabbi Elimelekh and the rav recognized the truthin them. In that very hour, he turned to God, ranweeping to the master, who instantly gave him hishelp, and with this help, he found the way. 58
  60. 60. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 22. BHAI BELLA GETS GURU GOBIND SINGHS GRACEIn the time of Guru Gobind Singh, the Mughalswould very often kidnap Sikh girls. Under thecircumstances, the Guru felt that the Sikhs shouldwage war in order to do away with the crueltywhich was being inflicted on them. A simplepeasant, Bhai Bella, came to the Guru and askedfor some service. "Do you know how to use a gun?" asked theGuru. "No, sir," replied Bella. "Can you ride a horse?" "No, sir," was the answer. "Well, brother, what kind of service do youthink you can do?" asked the Guru. "Sir, I could work in the stables and take careof the horses," was the reply. "Very good, you may go to the stables andstart your service," said the Guru. Bhai Bella started his work and did it with theutmost devotion and sincerity. Within two or threemonths, the horses had all greatly improved in 59
  61. 61. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipappearance and health. One day the Guru himselfwent to see the horses and was much impressed. "Who is responsible for making these horseslook so well?" asked the Guru. "Sir, it is Bhai Bella." Turning to Bella, the Guru asked him if hehad ever had any education. "No, sir. I have neverbeen to a school of any kind." "All right, fromtoday you start studying and I myself will teachyou," said the Guru. Every morning thereafter, the Guru wouldtell him one line or sentence and the rest of theday, Bhai Bella would repeat it with utmostdevotion. One morning the Guru was on his way to abattle and had no time to give a sentence to Bella.When the latter saw the Guru riding away, heasked him for a new line for the day. The Gurusmiled and said, "Oh Bhai, you do not recognisethe proper time nor an appropriate moment. Dontyou know where I am going?" Bella was under the impression that this wasthe sentence for the day and devotedly repeated itas always. All of the scholars who heard the Gurusay this to Bhai Bella had great fun thinking that he 60
  62. 62. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipwas such a fool that he didnt understand what theGuru meant. When the Guru returned after the battle, thescholars asked him, "Sir, what was the line that yougave Bhai Bella for today?" "I did not give him a new line today," saidthe Guru. "But sir, he has been repeating all day long,Oh Bhai, you do not recognise the proper timenor an appropriate moment. Dont you knowwhere I am going? When he heard this, he smiled and said,"Such a simple soul has already received all theknowledge that he needs. He has earned the GurusGrace." As soon as he said this, Bhai Bellas mindsoared up into the higher spiritual realms and hecontinued to remain in communion with his Guruirregardless of what he was doing. Seeing this state of his, the other discipleswere greatly annoyed and felt that that this wascertainly not justice on the part of the Guru. Theysaid, "We have been serving the Master for manyyears and at no time has such grace been bestowedon us. Whereas this man, who came here only 61
  63. 63. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshiprecently, has already been the recipient of DivineGrace. Where is justice?" When the Guru saw that they were all angry,he gave them a large quantity of ganja, asked themto boil it in water and then told them, "Now, eachone of you should rinse your mouth with this untilthe pot is empty." After the pot was empty, he asked them, "Doany of you feel intoxicated?" "No. How could wefeel intoxicated when none of us has swallowedany of it?" they replied. "That is the answer to your question," saidthe Guru. "The Guru can give you initiation, but ifyou do not do your spiritual practice and developlove and faith for your Guru, you will never makeany spiritual progress." "Bhai Bella is a very simple man andwhatever comes out of the lips of the Satguru, hetakes as truth and practises it with love, faith anddevotion throughout the day and night, until he isgiven the new line the following day. Whatever theGuru says, it is the duty of the disciple to carry itout implicitly. Only such a one will receive theGrace of the Guru." 62
  64. 64. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 23. THE FAITHFUL SERVANTIt is told in the Midrash: The ministering angelsonce said to God: "You have permitted Moses towrite whatever he wants to, so there is nothing toprevent him from saying to Israel: I have given youthe Torah." God replied: "This he would not do,but if he did, he would still be keeping faith withme."Rabbi Yitzhak of Vorkis disciples once asked himto interpret this. He answered by telling them aparable:A merchant wanted to go on a journey. He took onan assistant and let him work in his shop. Hehimself spent most of his time in the adjoiningroom from where he could hear what was going onnext door. During the first year he sometimesheard his assistant tell a customer: "The mastercannot let this go for so low a price." Themerchant did not go on his journey. In the courseof the second year he occasionally heard the voicenext door say: "We cannot let it go for so low aprice." He postponed his journey. But in the thirdyear he heard his assistant say: "I cant let this go 63
  65. 65. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipfor so low a price." It was then that he started onhis journey. 64
  66. 66. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 24. GURU GOES TO PROSTITUTES HOUSEThere was a saint by the name of Nityanand whohad many disciples each of whom wanted to beappointed the successor. To determine which wasthe most devoted and sincere, he contrived a test. One day he took all of his disciples to thetown and showed them around the entire city.Finally, the Guru took them to the street where allthe prostitutes plied their trade. The townspeopleas well as the disciples were wondering what onearth they were going to do. Having stopped infront of one of the houses, the Guru turned to thedisciples and told them, "I have some work to do here. Have no fear.When the work is finished, I will return to you."He then entered the house. When the prostitute saw the holy man, shebowed down to him. "Sir, it is my great goodfortune that you have come into my humbledwelling. Please tell me what are your commands,"she said. "I wish to spend the night here. If therefore,you can spare me a separate room and you will goand sleep in another room yourself, it will serve my 65
  67. 67. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshippurpose. Also, please tell your servant to bring mea covered plate with some cooked vegetables,bread and a bottle of syrup." "It shall be done exactly as you wish," saidthe prostitute. When the disciples saw the plate beingbrought to their Guru with a tall bottleprominently showing, they started to talk to eachother. "Oh, that we should have lived to see somiserable a sight! Our Guru has fallen! He is nowindulging in meat, wine and women!" Filled with despair and convinced that theirMaster had been deceiving them, all but one ofthem left the place. The next day, the Guru came out and foundonly one of his disciples there. "Where are all theothers?" he asked. "One left soon after you entered this house.One by one, they all believed the worst and wentaway," said the disciple. "And why didnt you go away also?" askedthe Guru. "Sir, I have no place in this world to goexcept at your feet. Where could I go?" 66
  68. 68. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship Embracing the disciple, the Guru made himthe successor the next day. 67
  69. 69. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 25. FIRST EMPTY YOURSELF BEFORE RECEIVING A TEACHINGThere was once a monk living in a forest ashram.A professor of philosophy from the nearby towncame to visit him and said, "Please tell mesomething about spirituality, about the innerReality, and how to attain it." The monk said, "You look very tired aftertravelling all this way. Please rest a little and havesome tea." The monk then went and preparedsome tea and brought it. He put a cup in theprofessors hand and started to pour the tea from apot. Even after the cup was full, he continued topour while the tea was going all over the manshand and onto the floor. "Stop! Stop! Are youmad? My cup cannot hold another drop; it is full tooverflowing!" shouted the professor. The monklaughed and said, "You know well that when thecup is full it cannot hold anymore however muchwe try to pour into it. And even then, you ask meto teach you about spirituality when you are so fullof preconceptions inside. Please come back afteremptying your cup, for now it cannot hold even 68
  70. 70. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshipanother drop and it would be a waste of energy totry pouring anything into it." 69
  71. 71. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 26. THE TASTE OF BANSO’S SWORDMatajuro Yagyu was the son of a famousswordsman. His father, believing that his sonswork was too mediocre to anticipate mastership,disowned him. Matajuro went to Mount Vutara and there foundthe famous swordsman Banzo. But Banzoconfirmed the fathers judgement. "You wish tolearn swordsmanship under my guidance?" askedBanzo. "You cannot fulfill the requirements." "But if I work hard, how many years will it takeme to become a master?" persisted the youth. "The rest of your life," replied Banzo. "I cannot wait that long," explained Matajuro. "Iam willing to pass through any hardship if only youwill teach me. If I become your devoted servant,how long might it be?" "Oh, maybe ten years," Banzo relented. "My father is getting old, and soon I must takecare of him," continued Matajuro. "If I work farmore intensively, how long would it take me?" "Oh, maybe thirty years," said Banzo. 70
  72. 72. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship "Why is that?" asked Matajuro. "First you say tenand now thirty years. I will undergo any hardshipto master this art in the shortest time!""Well," said Banzo, "in that case you will have toremain with me for seventy years. A man in such ahurry as you are to get results seldom learnsquickly." "Very well," declared the youth, understanding atlast that he was being rebuked for impatience, "Iagree.” Matajuro was told never to speak of fencing andnever to touch a sword. He cooked for his master,washed the dishes, made his bed, cleaned the yard,cared for the garden, all without a word of swords-manship. Three years passed. Still Matajuro labored on.Thinking of his future, he was sad. He had noteven begun to learn the art to which he haddevoted his life. But one day Banzo crept up behind him and gavehim a terrific blow with a wooden sword. The following day, when Matajuro was cookingrice, Banzo again sprang upon him unexpectedly. After that, day and night, Matajuro had to defendhimself from unexpected thrusts. Not a moment 71
  73. 73. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationshippassed in any day that he did not have to think ofthe taste of Banzos sword. He learned so rapidly he brought smiles to theface of his master. Matajuro became the greatestswordsman in the land. 72
  74. 74. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 27. MIDNIGHT EXCURSIONMany pupils were studying meditation under theZen master Sengai. One of them used to arise atnight, climb over the temple wall, and go to townon a pleasure jaunt. Sengai, inspecting the dormitory quarters, foundthis pupil missing one night and also discoveredthe high stool he had used to scale the wall. Sengairemoved the stool and stood there in its place. When the wanderer returned, not knowing thatSengai was the stool, he put his feet on themaster’s head and jumped down into the grounds.Discovering what he had done, he was aghast. Sengai said: "It is very chilly in the early morning.Do he careful not to catch cold yourself. The pupil never went out at night again. 73
  75. 75. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship 28. COMPETITION AMONGST DISCIPLESIt once happened that a Master had two discipleswho were always competing with each other. Eachwished to be the Gurus favourite disciple andthere was no end to their competition. One summer afternoon the Master was tiredand laid down to rest. He asked the two disciplesto massage his legs. They were only too happy todo so. As soon as the Guru fell asleep, the disciplesdecided to divide the Masters body into twodifferent territories and so they drew a line withchalk down the center of his front side. The Guru,however, was not aware of what had happened. Hedid not know that he had become two. In his sleep,he placed one of his legs over the other. Thedisciples started to argue. "Both of the legs havecome over to my territory, so dont you dare toucheither one!" said one disciple. "What, you rascal!How is that? The line of demarcation is still there.How can it be called yours? Stop interfering withmy service!" said the other. "You just try andremove it and see what happens!" said the firstdisciple. 74
  76. 76. Stories on Guru - Disciple Relationship The disciples now got up and were about tocome to blows with sticks. Suddenly, hearing thecommotion, the Guru woke up and saw the two ofthem and asked, "What is happening?" They said, "You need not interfere. You canjust go back to sleep. Well decide by ourselveswhat has to be done." Wonderful disciples! 75