Guru-Devotee Relationship

 Sparks of Light: Counseling in the Hasidic Tradition, by Zalman M. Schachter

“‘Prayer is not to God; prayer is God.’  Indeed, the key distinguishing feature of early Hasidism may have been its tremendous emphasis on prayer as an ecstatic experience, capable of transporting each person to divine realms of splendor.

“In his diagnosis, therefore, the rebe carefully examined the depth and intensity of the hasid’s prayer life.  Was he simply mouthing pious words?  Or, could he surrender his ego and feel the hidden worlds draw near?  Was he able to plunge fearlessly into this region of paradox without clinging to false stability?  For the Hasidic sages truly advocated an approach to prayer transcending duality.”  p. 108

“The rebbe’s position was not a simple one.  He had to be many things to many different people.  Heart and mind, soul and intellect—all had to skillfully blend in day-to-day life.  A wrong word could literally plunge a Hasid into despair or foolish recklessness.  For this reason, the rebbe sought a comprehensive training— rigorous and yet gentle— for his disciple, to prepare him for spiritual mastery…..He (the rebbe) observed the hasid’s behavior in different life situations, and supervised his prayer life, involving many counseling sessions.”  p. 74

Spiritual Direction in the Early Christian East, by Irénée Hausherr

“The tradition of spiritual fatherhood or motherhood— for this is a ministry also exercised by women—retained its full significance throughout the Byzantine area, while from Byzantine it spread to the Slav Orthodox world.  To take but one example out of many, the following advice is given in a text from Kievan Russia, the Admonition of the Father to his Son  (11th Century):

‘I show you, my son, true refuges— monasteries, the houses of the saints:  have recourse to them and they will comfort you: shed your sorrows before them and you will be gladdened:  for they are sons of sorrowlessness and know how to comfort you, sorrowing one…In the city where you are living or in other neighboring towns seek a God-fearing man—and serve him with all your strength.  Having found such a man, you need grieve no more; you have found the key to the Kingdom of Heaven; adhere to him with soul and body; observe his life, his walking, sitting, looking, eating, and examine all his habits; first of all, my son, keep his words, do not let one of them fall to the ground; they are more precious than pearls—the words of saints.’”  from the Introduction

Piri-Muridi Relationship: A Study of the Nizamuddin Dargah, by Desiderio Pinto

“Piri-muridi  has been variously depicted as a teacher-student, a parent-child, and a prophet-people relationship.  In other words, the pir is expected to interact with the murid in the roles of teacher, father and mother, and prophet.  And the murid is expected to interact with the pir in the roles of student, son or daughter, and a person who is in need of correction.”  p. 4

“The pir is a guide, helper and teacher who takes one to God.

“The pir is like the moon.  He spreads his light in all four directions.  Those who come under the influence of this light meet him and get what they want.  He shows the way and brings them into the light.

“He catches and saves the murid from falling by the wayside.  He will not let him out of his grasp until he can stand on his own two feet.  This catching and saving of the murid takes place through the light of the pir.

“The pir shows the path…

“The pir looks at the habits of the murid….

“The pir wants to make the murid like himself.

“The pir is the guide who brings the murid on the way of the Quran and in such a way that the murid begins to live accordingly to its injunctions.

“The pir is just a guide. He is nothing in himself. He shows the way to God.

“The pir guides his murids through his words.”

 The Life and Teachings of Sai Baba of Shirdi, by Antonio Rigopoulos

 “There are innumerable saints in this world, but ‘our father’ (Guru) is the Father (real Guru). Others might say many good things, but we should never forget our Guru’s words.  In short, love your Guru wholeheartedly, surrender to Him completely and prostrate yourselves before Him reverentially, and then you will see that there is no sea of the mundane existence before you to cross, as there I no darkness before the sun.”*

“Stick to your own Guru with unabated faith, whatever the merits of the other Gurus and however little the merits of your own.”

“Pant, we must not give up attachment to our own Guru.  Be ever firmly resting in Him and in Him alone.”

“Look to me, and I will look to you. Trust in the Guru fully.  That is the only Sadhana.  Guru is all the Gods…”

“My Guru, after depriving me of everything, asked me for two pice. I gave them to him.  He did not want metallic gifts.  What he asked for was faith (nistha) and patience, cheerful endurance (saburi).”

* All quotes from Sai Baba of Shirdi

Infinite Intelligence, by Meher Baba

“To penetrate into the essence of all being and significance and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others— by expressing, in the world of forms, truth, love, purity and beauty—this is the sole game that has intrinsic and absolute worth. All other happenings, incidents and attainments in themselves can have no lasting importance.”  from the Foreword

“The Sadguru or Perfect Master is the thematic center of Infinite Intelligence.  As God in human form, He has infinite Knowledge, Power, and Bliss as His constant divine attributes….Meher Baba declared that He took upon Himself the burden of universal suffering in order to perform His God-ordained duty of universal spiritual salvation.”  from the Foreword

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