The relationship between guru and disciple is very special. When a guru takes on a disciple or sishya it is his/her duty to empower the disciple to learn and grow. The old tradition of guru-sishya, as it is practiced, is not good for the guru and not good for the disciple. I am sure that the sages of old did not wish it to be interpreted the way it is mostly practiced.
Yes, Guru is Brahma! God resides in all! It is every soul’s desire to return to the source from where we have come. This is why religions, cults, and gurus can have such powerful influence over humanity. It is the duty of the Guru to fulfill the soul’s desire of the disciple. Each soul came to this incarnation with purpose and that can only be fulfilled by empowering the disciple to seek that goal.
The guru has insight through meditation and psychic abilities of what that disciple needs and what path is most beneficial. Now comes the difficulty. The disciples innate desire to fulfill the soul’s journey is willing to, and many times insisting to, hand over the power to the guru so they do not need to do all the work (guru’s grace). The tradition of Ishwa Pranidhan – bowing down to god or guru is not done to honor god or guru. It is done to conquer the ego that does not allow us to attain our goals. Unless we can bow down to a higher force no spiritual learning can take place.
The guru is in a very difficult position. On one hand they have to empower the student to seek their own path, on the other hand they have to quench their stubborn ego that keeps them from the path. As the student begins to get closer to their soul’s desire the more power they attribute to the guru, the more they think that surrender is needed. Everyone in a human form will have weaknesses. This relationship begins to feed the weaknesses of both student and guru. Guru feels powerful, student feels they must give up their power and abuse may happen and does happen frequently. Most gurus did not become gurus to abuse, it is this relationship that causes the rise of the ego. We must understand the cause in order to correct it.
Guru-sishya relationship is very important and should not be abandoned. Changes need to be made. A guru is a guide. A guide that has strength and weaknesses but practices and lives the path. The relationship between disciple and guru should be with respect, but also open to interaction. The disciple needs to understand that knowledge and power is channeled through the guru from a divine source and not from the person. Divine power comes in the form of love, understanding and acceptance. Not from control.
Both guru and sishya have equal responsibility. My guru, Mataj, once told to me that if God came down and told her something to do that she did not feel was appropriate, she would not do it. We are responsible for our own evolution. In the ultimate reality every person we meet is our guru. Because we learn from all interactions. The sishya that has a guru is very blessed, and a guru who sees the disciples growing and blossoming is also very blessed. It is a mutual love that is very special and profound. The disciple has the power to carefully choose the guru. But the guru has to take the disciples that come.
“Oh, if you only knew yourselves! You are souls; you are Gods. If ever I feel like blaspheming, it is when I call you man” Swami Vivekananda