Guru suggests spiritual discipline

Guru suggests spiritual discipline

By SWAMI SHANTATMANANDA | 18 March, 2017

People who take to spiritual life often go to a Guru for guidance. Yet it is found that very few make any worthwhile progress in spiritual life. Devotees would often ask Sri Ramakrishna about the role of a Guru or a spiritual preceptor and how he can cure people of the malady of worldliness and guide them in their spiritual journey. Sri Ramakrishna would answer their question using a beautiful example. He would say that there are three types of doctors. A patient went to a doctor complaining about several ailments. The doctor heard him patiently and prescribed him the necessary medicines. He did not take any further interest in the patient. The patient did not take the medicines and obviously was not cured. Another patient went to another doctor and he too was complaining of several ailments. The doctor not only prescribed medicines, but also supplied them to the patients. He also started enquiring the patient whether he is taking the medicines regularly. Because of the doctor’s enquiries the patient was taking medicines intermittently and was also cured of his ailments to some extent. But yet he was not completely cured. Another patient went to a third doctor who patiently heard the health problems of the patient. He not only prescribed the medicines, but procured them and virtually force-fed the medicines. The result was that the patient was completely cured of his ailments. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that the first type of Guru deals with the disciple at a superficial level and just suggests spiritual disciplines and does not care to find out whether the latter follows them.  The second type of Guru not only suggests the necessary disciplines, but also enquires whether the disciple practices the disciplines. But, the highest type of Guru is the one who not only suggests the spiritual disciplines, but also ensures that the disciple practices them. Such a Guru alone can lead the spiritual aspirant to his spiritual destiny with certainty. 

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