Requirements of a Spiritual Teacher

This article was originally published in a 1983 issue of Beads of Truth, and is based on a lecture delivered by Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan September 18, 1971. 

The soul is immortal.  The soul does not know death. This body is made out of matter.  Matter neither can be produced nor can be destroyed.  Matter does not know death. Mind is a part of the universal mind.   Mind does not know death. Human beings consist of mind, body and soul: physical, mental and spiritual. These three things make the human being and yet we are very much afraid of them.

We cannot love because of the fear of death.  We cannot live because of the fear of death. The fear of death is so powerful in some of the people that their life is miserable. The question is very simple. We have never considered to think about our origin, from where we have come. We have never trained our mind to think who we are and where we have to go.

Unfortunately, people are brought up under very weird circumstances. You are trained to be in the world to be rich. You are trained to be in the world to possess material things. The energy that is concentrated on possessing the material things, does not leave you any time to do anything with the material things. So, question is to possess for what? I can spend three billion tomorrow and it will not be a hassle to me — what I have to do is build very great buildings in all the cities where people can do their sadhanas. Some people have billions of dollars, but they do not know what to do with it — they get stuck with it. They have it, and they have it with the fear of losing it and the fear of losing actually kills their nerves.  They shrink, they feel bad, they feel negative. So this vicious circle takes away the entire nervous strength of a man to enjoy, be happy and relax.

People do not know how to give. You ask a person to go to a movie, to eat dinner, he’s willing to spend twenty dollars. You ask him to go to a spiritual cause, he’ll ask, ‘why do I have to spend another dollar?’ and he’ll make a fuss. For twenty dollars to go to a movie and eat, and to oblige a friend, nobody minds. But we don’t consider that we have to pay or feel responsible to anything such as soul.

We do not realize that there is a soul in us.  That is the biggest fault of a person.  Samskaras are that account of those karmas you have earned in the previous life.  That is why you got the body. This physical body was granted to you according to those samskaras. Then with those karmas, you make the karma in this life. Samskaras and karma get together and that guides your destiny.

You folks might have some unfortunate misunderstanding about a spiritual path or the spiritual teacher. If there are very heavy samskaras and the karmas do not overshadow them, (samskaras can be either positive or negative, both ways), then a blessed being falls in attachment to learn from a teacher, who is a first rate teacher on the spiritual path.

A first rate teacher is a teacher who is very hard, very intolerant of the mistakes of the students, and he gives a  crushing blow on every step. This is first rate. A second rate teacher is who just reminds a person of his mistake, and a third rate is who just pleases him. There are three types of teachers in the universe.

The harder the teacher is, the better one can learn; the softer the teacher is, the less one can learn. Because all the time you are in a fight between the ego and the soul, the conscious and unconscious mind.

The conscious mind tells you that you have to come to this world, you have made a journey, and this world has come to go, and maya is what it is, etc. Then when it comes time to practice, the sub-conscious mind says to forget it. “Try to get up at 3:30 a.m.? Yogiji is crazy, why do you listen to him? Oh forget it, it is a good day and warm blanket. Why do I have to come out?” You start intellectualizing the hukum (an instruction which is for your benefit), and then comes a duality: a love for your teacher, or a love for yourself.

All teachers are mystic, but they will never talk to you  in that language. They know certain things, they talk about certain things. It has been seen that about 90 percent of the students do not know what their teacher says because words do not mean anything to you. Consciously, you are not very clear in picking up the vibrations, though some people nod their heads. These are some of the mysteries which surround people and their teachers.

A pupil understands what a teacher is when he does not understand him with his ego. Then you can understand clearly. If I am talking in a room with this man, and somebody is listening from behind that wall, he does not hear clearly. If he will try to listen from there he may not clearly understand, because the wall does create a resistance to the sound current. So his ego, the wall of negative ego, when trying to intellectually understand what the teacher says, does create a confused state of mind in a normal practitioner.

You must understand one thing, and that you can discuss and intellectually understand: a teacher has no interest in you, except to make you spiritual, self-confident and fearless. That is the power he has and he will adopt every method to show you your weakness. If he cannot show you your weakness and your negativity, then why do you have a spiritual teacher?

A teacher is a person who tells you where you are at. That negativity you do not like because it hurts your ego. So if you love your ego, don’t walk on the path of spirituality.

Then make money, eat steak, drink beer, have a lot of fun, have orgies, do something which everybody is doing. Why should you suffer? I’ll say either be a crow and live with crows or be a swan and live with swans. Don’t be a crow and live with swans, crows can’t live with swans. It has a very weakening effect.

You must basically understand this truth, I want to make it very clear to you: if you want God, God consciousness and spirituality, then learn to surrender. That surrender is not to a man, rather he’s just a custodian to Truth. He doesn’t care whether twenty people bow to him or twenty-thousand people bow to him. What does it matter to him? Basically there is a problem, you have to learn to surrender to your higher consciousness. Without learning this first step, you may have all the knowledge in the world about mystics and spiritualism but you are not going to achieve any results whatsoever.

That is why we have given a basic surrender order to those practitioners who want to study: they must get up in the morning, they must chant the Holy Naam so their soul may become clean and powerful and their ego may become less and less and less. Surrender is within the self.

Suppose a student feels I am a teacher and he touches my feet all the time? It won’t do anything. By touching my feet, bowing to me, all he can get is the treatment which I give, in my house, to Baba Singh. If my car has a little something wrong somewhere, if anything goes wrong in the house, Baba Singh is the one who has a stick on his head. If my shoes are not polished, if something is run-down at the ashram, if the printing is done wrong, Baba Singh is at fault. That guy is on the spearhead. And still he has to teach all the classes, do his master’s degree, massage my feet, take care of the whole household and still do his sadhana perfectly and see that everything for tomorrow is right. And this is what we expect of him. That is the minimum requirement of that one man. After all, he is one among you, he has chosen the path. But I wish sometimes you should see when he takes the class and doesn’t differentiate who teaches whom.

I have never appreciated Baba Singh in all these two years he has stayed with me because there is no reason to appreciate him. If he is me, then why do I have to appreciate him? You mean I want to just do my self portrait? Why do I have to appreciate him? What for? Why do I have to appreciate myself? I am, I am. He has chosen to be I am. You people who are at a little distance from me, you have never studied me from that angle or with that angle. You feel Yogiji is a very kind, sweet fellow and that is all you know about me. For you, time has to improve you, your honesty, your sincerity, your selflessness.

To teach other people and raise their consciousness, that will improve you, that will teach you. That’s the karmas you are paying. You are doing it also, you are experiencing hardship too, but you are doing the same type of karma in a different way. By selflessly helping people, raising their consciousness, praising the Lord, spreading the Truth, you are also paying that type of karma. But in that karma there is one difficulty that I want to make very clear. Whereas in the case of Baba Singh, the next minute he’s caught and he is skinned out for it. That is sometimes not available to you. When you do wrong, your consciousness revolts.

Every morning you do meditation, and messages are regularly sent to you people where your head is at, whether you tune in or not. You always know where your wrong is, and you are told where your wrong is, but you are the greatest fools on this planet, you start intellectualizing it. You must understand basically that a teacher should always feel that his Guru and his God is with him, that he need not hide anything. When the impulse comes to him, and when the message comes to him, his consciousness tells him that he has done something that is not soul, that is ego, he should reprimand himself. They call it self-diagnosis. A person must diagnose himself or, he should get up in the morning, do meditation on what he had done yesterday and analyze all his karma, how much ego was involved, how much sacrifice was involved, and improve the next day.

In the case of duality, strong conflict, write it down in a letter: this is the situation of my mind, this is how I feel, could you please guide me on this? The moment you will write, the next morning you will have the answer in your meditation and all the answers from the letter will come.

A practitioner who does not practice self-analysis, cannot improve because what happens is the ego takes a different shape, the ego gets mixed with intellect and starts giving a powerful reasoning: “Oh, I taught a class yesterday, everybody was stoned.” That teaching is finished, all the good karmas of that teaching is wiped out because ego took away everything. If he sits down and he asks God to flow through him during the class, then the class will get the effect.

The rightful man (the teacher) should go in gratitude: “thank you my heavenly Father, thank you my guide, thank you my Guru, thank you my mantra, thank you my sadhana, thank you my prana, thank you my consciousness . .. you made me an instrument to do this, if you make me again. I’ll do better, please don’t leave me, please flow through me, bless me.”

The highest sadhana is when somebody does anything wrong, pray twice for him. This is the highest sadhana, this will unfold to you all the mysteries of this world and the world to follow. Live in gratitude. Those people who live as the flow is, in gratitude, how can you praise them even? So that is the attitude you need to have. We need a teacher at this time, the time is in a very great conflict. But you must understand, we are not hungry for you. You aren’t doing any person a favor, you are doing a favor to yourself, you are paying off your own karmas, you are pleasing the God and His Consciousness. Individually, it is just a help to you.

That help is also essential because that little spark does enlighten in you the fire and the Kundalini light of God Consciousness. You are always that when you relate to it in direct proportion. It is all there, the karmas and samskaras are better. Samskaras lead you to the virtuousness; karmas perfect you in that virtuousness.

If you understand this mystic law of God consciousness, you can make yourself to be a great teacher in this life. Otherwise, you must remember that ego one day or another day will be powerful enough to take you away in spite of all your desires, your wishes, your fantasies, your situations. It is a flow: so shall you sow, so shall you reap; as you will do, so shall you get. Empty handed you come, empty handed you go. If you don’t pay reverence to your teacher, your students will not show reverence to you. If you insult and beat out all those who are old today, tomorrow when you become old you will be beaten up.

The world is a law of existence. It is a tit for a tat. Don’t misunderstand that the wrong you do, even if a man does not take notice of it, God is not ignorant to record it.

What happened in this world? All these men were put on a cross, or in gas chambers, put to death, by the ignorant people of the time. Then their civilization got wiped from the planet. That is the power of the curse which follows doing wrong. There is a saying in the scripture, “You may not do good to any man who praised the Lord all the time, but don’t dare do any wrong to him because when the wrong is done, the hand of God  reaches there faster than for any other reason. Because they are protected also.” Their master will not like it. You can protect a dog because you are the master of the dog. Do you think that a man who is the master of his dog, will not be protected by his master? That is the situation, symptoms and signs.

Our purpose in this life is to live in higher consciousness and to teach others to live in higher consciousness. But the best test to that consciousness is humility, selflessness and sweetness. But when you teach, teach with honesty, truthfulness, and straight-forwardness. Asa teacher, never compromise. As a man, always compromise. The teacher who compromises is an idiot, a person who does not compromise is an idiot. Because, the teacher does not teach for himself, but for the higher consciousness. And higher consciousness will never compromise with lower consciousness. This is a straight law and that has to be considered as a law, that has to be observed as a law.

Therefore, please don’t misunderstand, if you do not find me hard enough, do find another teacher, work out your karma. Life has been given to you to do it anyway. But if you want to study with me, three things you must do:

1) Never get into a secret mantra or secret initiation. The Mother Kundalini will diversify you, and you will not be happy here, neither will you be happy in heavens. It is a terrible mistake a person can make. Any practitioner of Kundalini must not go into any kind of secret knowledge, it is the first law of this knowledge.

2) Join the practice with reverence and leave it with reverence. Because as all rivers get into the ocean, all knowledge is meant to raise the kundalini. Negating this Mother Divine Power, this creative power of God, sometimes does not have happy results.

3) You must not forget, a practitioner of Kundalini Yoga must not disrespect a woman under any form and shape. If you can carry out these three instructions, the result will be very quick, wonderful and delightful. If you break any law, it is your karma, God bless you.

It is time to go. I always leave physically, never spiritually. If you want to test it sometimes, you can do it. My greatest reward goes to those who have improved themselves, who have come here for this Yoga and going from here keep the mantra in their heart. Try to improve yourself better and better so that when we again meet we will be in a position to do better than this.


View this article as it originally appeared in Beads of Truth in Winter of 1983


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