Lesson 12: Requirements of Discipleship and the Role of the Guru

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What is a disciple? What is a Guru?

  • Disciple or sishya means a learner.
  • One who is ready to take up the discipline of Self-knowledge


  • Guru means teacher … “light that dispels darkness”


The Fourfold Means: (requirements of discipleship)

  • Discernment / discrimination
  • Dispassion / even-mindedness
  • Self-discipline
  • Burning desire for liberation


How does one find or recognize a guru?

  • Realize the soul yearning as a spiritual process rooted in the divine.
  • Ask for guidance, pray, stay open, study, practice, be discerning.
  • Observe the teacher’s teaching, life, practice, their relationship to a teacher & lineage.
  • Become first a disciple of the way — get ready for a teacher.
  • Recognize the spiritual connection, inner relationship.


Three Primary Responsibilities of Guru:

  • Transmission. shares revelation as a subtle exchange of energy and consciousness.
  • Initiation: offers rite of passage, opening into the numinous, the mystical path of God-realization, signifies a new beginning, new life –led by the soul.
  • Guidance: offers a teaching, a time-tested path (tradition),  sadhana or practice.


Levels of Manifestation of the Guru

  • God is the Ultimate and only Guru.
  • Guru is a universal archetype as disciple—they arise together.
  • Guru is the embodied teacher whose life reveals or bears witness to God.
  • Guru is within as our own awakened consciousness (we are That).


Emulation is not imitation.

The key to emulation is living the virtues – being true to our Self.


By emulating and actualizing the virtues and states of consciousness of role models and saints, the devotee’s awareness becomes calm and harmonized.                       —Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.37



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