The Spiritual Teacher

This article was originally published in Aquarian Times in the Winter of 2005 

Samskaras are the account of karmas you have earned in the previous life. The physical body was granted to you according to those samskaras. Then you make the karma in this life; samskaras and karma get together and that guides your destiny.

If there are very heavy samskaras and the karmas do not overshadow them (samskaras can be either positive or negative), then a blessed being is given the opportunity to learn from a teacher who is a first rate teacher on the spiritual path.

There are three types of teachers in the Universe. 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. A second rate teacher is one who just reminds a person of his mistakes, and a third rate teacher is one who just pleases him. The harder the teacher is, the better one can learn; the softer the teacher is, the less one can learn.

All the time you are in a fight between the ego and the soul, the conscious and unconscious mind. A pupil understands a teacher when he does not understand him with his ego. Then he can understand clearly. If I am talking with a man in a room, and somebody is listening from behind the 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.

Just so, 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.

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 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. 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 it’s to a custodian of Truth. 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 Nam, so their soul may become clean and powerful and their ego may become less and less and less. Surrender is within the self.

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. When you teach, teach with honesty, truthfulness, and straightforwardness. As a 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.

My greatest reward comes from those who have improved themselves, who have come here for this yoga, this union; and going from here, keep the mantra in their heart. My prayer is that you continue to improve yourself and become better and better.

Connect with Yogi Bhajan as Your Spiritual Teacher through the Tratakam Practice

Read the article “Seeing Eye to Eye with the Master” from a Winter 2005 Aquarian Times article by Guruka Singh.




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  1. KartaPurkh Khalsa says:

    Was participating in a Level 1 teacher training today, the 15th anniversary of the SSS’s passing. The mantra was Sa Ray. I dozed off as sometimes happens. When I came back to awareness, the mantra in the room sounded like him telling me to “Wake up, wake up, wake up.” Honestly it must have been him poking me. As he always said, he would be more available to us AFTER he passed. Thank you, sir!

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