29th December 1971

Q: You were telling us that there are many self-styled gurus, but a real guru is very rare. There are many jnanis who imagine themselves realized, but all they have is book knowledge and a high opinion of themselves. Sometimes they impress, even fascinate, attract disciples and make them waste their time in useless practices. After some years, when the disciple takes stock of himself, he finds no change. When he complains to his teacher, he gets the usual rebuke that he did not try hard enough. The blame is on the lack of faith and love in the heart of the disciple, while in reality, the blame is on the guru, who had no business in accepting disciples and raising hopes. How to protect oneself against such 'gurus'?

Maharaj: Why be so concerned with others? Whoever may be the guru, if he is pure of heart and acts in good faith, he will do his disciples no harm. If there is no progress, the fault lies with the disciples, their laziness, and lack of self-control. On the other hand, if the disciple is earnest and applies himself intelligently and with zest to his sadhana, he is bound to meet a more qualified teacher, who will take him further.

Your question flows from three false assumptions: that one needs to concern oneself with others; that one can evaluate another and that the progress of the disciple is the task and responsibility of his guru. In reality, the guru's role is only to instruct and encourage; the disciple is totally responsible for himself.

— I AM THAT ch. 84