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Let Us Be Gods-Part VI
Courtesy: The Vedanta Kesary, English monthly from R K Math, Chennai
Remember Sri Ramakrishna's teachings about gurus—the three kinds of gurus? He used to say there are three kinds of teachers, or spiritual guides. One kind gives instruction to the disciple. Whether the disciple practises according to that, or lives up to it or not, he doesn't care. He has given it, and forgets the disciple afterwards. The second kind gives instruction and then makes inquiries: 'Now, are you doing what I told? Why don't you do it?' and he tries to persuade the student. Of course, there are disciples who don't want to practise in spite of their teacher's persuasions. They just won't. Then there is the third kind of guru. When they try to persuade the disciple and still he resists, then these teachers will force the disciple to practice. Well, they're considered the best gurus.
Disciples beware! If you fall into the hands of the third kind of guru, life will be a great misery. But you will quickly overcome your ignorance and you will attain to the Truth. And you will become like that lion who was brought up amongst lambs and sheep and used to bleat and graze on grass. Then a true lion came and dragged it to a pool, to look into the pool, to show how their faces are the same, to show that it is not a sheep, but a lion. Of course, he still whined. Then the true lion put red meat into his mouth. 'Now, eat this.' And this lamb-lion ate the meat and tasted blood. 'Now, roar!' And he roared and became a lion. The great guru does that, and we are fortunate if we ever become disciples of such a teacher.
But truth is like this. People don't want to take to it readily. You see, that is one of the mischiefs of maya, or ignorance; it doesn't allow you to turn towards the truth. Even if the truth is before your eyes, you turn your head away; you don't want to look at it. Who will destroy this inertia? Somebody has to do it. So, I am not giving bad advice when I say that if you have children, give them the pure truth. Force it down their throats if necessary, for their own good. If you say, I repeat, that it will do them harm––no, it won't! Truth itself is the energizing medicine. When truth enters into a mind, whichever way it is put there, the mind is strengthened.
But truth is like this. People don't want to take to it readily. You see, that is one of the mischiefs of maya, or ignorance....
This is it. Swami Vivekananda was a monist. He came here in 1893 to attend the Parliament of Religions, and after having studied and travelled and having met many men, he concluded there was a great demand for the teachings of Vedanta. And he went about the country and taught this philosophy and religion. And the Swami himself was the embodiment of the spirit of that philosophy and religion. It was not a matter of belief with him, or of mere intellectual conclusions. The truths of Vedanta were living truths in his own life and people saw those truths demonstrated before their eyes, in and through the resplendent person that he was. He taught Vedanta and felt that this was the religion needed by the West, which had been brought up on the basis of science.
Yes, it is true, there are many good elements in your heritage. But if there is one thing that can claim you most, that is scientific knowledge. You can never deny it. You cannot deny it because it proves itself before your face all the time. You fly in an airplane. You cannot deny the factual basis on which airplanes are manufactured. Radio, television ––so many things have become a part of your life that are based on the facts of science. You cannot deny them. You are just putting off the evil day when you do not want to face this extraordinary kind of knowledge that is called science. You cannot say: 'Well, I shall believe in my holy book, even if it contradicts science.' You cannot say that without destroying yourself. You cannot divide your mind between dogmatism and experimental knowledge and yet have a strong mind. You cannot.
To be continued
About the author
Swami Ashokananda (1893-1969) was a much-venerated monk of the Ramakrishna Order. He was ordained into sannyasa by Swami Shivananda, and was the editor of Prabuddha Bharata, an English monthly of the Ramakrishna Order brought out from the Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati in Uttaranchal. He was an outstanding writer and speaker and the leader of the Vedanta Society of Northern California (San Fransisco) from 1931 until his passing away in 1969.