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All the people in the world can be put under four categories:
The Guru’s disciples, bhaktas, those who are indifferent to Him and those who are hostile to Him.
All these will be benefited by the existence of the Jnani
Each in his own way and to various degrees.
Sri Raman Maharshi
Question: Acharya Ji, how is one who is indifferent to the Guru benefiting from the Guru’s existence? How does a Guru’s presence help everyone?
Acharya Prashant Ji: So what are the four categories listed?
Disciples, devotees, the indifferent ones, and the hostile ones. And Raman Maharshi says, “All these four categories will be benefited by the existence of the Jnanis, but in different ways and to different degrees.”
So what’s the question?
How is one who is indifferent to the Guru benefiting from the Guru’s existence? How does a Guru’s presence help everyone?
If you are indifferent to the Guru – and ‘the Guru’ here obviously stands not for a person, but for the Truth itself, Truth having taken a form, formed Truth, Truth having taken a person, embodied Truth – so if you are indifferent to the Guru, surely it is for a reason. You are not the one who has transcended all reasons. You belong to the second lowest category of people. You are not the transcendental one. Or are you?
There are the disciples, then there are the devotees, then there are the indifferent ones, and then there are the hostile ones. You are the indifferent one. If you are indifferent, surely there is a reason. What is the reason?
Questioner: That I don’t like the Guru.
Acharya Prashant Ji: No, if you had really felt anything for the Guru, then you would be in the fourth category. If you were the one who would have really felt the need to avoid the Guru, then you would have been in the fourth category.
Avoidance is passive hatred. You can’t actively hate, so all you do is avoid. Indifference is different. Indifference means – the Guru does not even exist on your radar. You just pass him by, you don’t even notice him.
Now why don’t you notice him? What is the reason?
The Buddha is passing through a market, saying a few things, and then there are those who are not even looking at him. Why?
Questioner: They are busy in the marketplace.
Acharya Prashant Ji: Correct.
Because they have a reason, and the reason is the marketplace. That’s the reason you are indifferent to the Guru, because there are so many other things that are occupying you. The entire world is occupying you. Correct?
So you are related to the world, you are related to this, you are related to that. Who are these people, who are these institutions or places that you are related to? Are they all as indifferent to the Guru as you are?
So let’s say you are indifferent to the Guru because you have ten other people to occupy you. Now are all these ten people as indifferent to the Guru as you are?
The probability is thin.
Even if it so happens that all these ten are very indifferent to the Guru, even each of these ten will be related to another set of ten people, would those ten into ten, which is hundred people, be all indifferent to the Guru? Even if those hundred people are all indifferent to the Guru, what you have now is a wider circle of thousands of people. Would all of them be indifferent to the Guru? No.
So even if you are indifferent to the Guru, you will not be indifferent to someone who is not indifferent to the Guru. You are indifferent to the Guru, but let’s say you have a friend circle. For how long your friends circle will remain indifferent to the Guru? Sooner than later you will find that one of your friends, who was your reason to avoid the Guru, is now becoming your reason to hate the Guru.
Okay let me give an extreme example.
There is this woman you are with. And she is all over you. She is totally occupying your eyes, your mind, your entire body, your entire system, so you have no space for the Guru. You are totally full of this one person, the lady. What if you discover one day that your sweetheart is talking of the Guru?
You cannot remain indifferent because the Guru is operating in the same space as the one inhabited by you. Sooner the later he will catch up with you. For how long can you stay indifferent?
From the Guru, waves of influence spread outwards into the entire world.
How long can you pretend to not see him, not be impacted by him?
The entire ecosystem in which you live will get impacted by the very existence of the Guru.
How will you insulate yourself?
How will you manage to remain untouched?
Are you getting it?
But if you are indifferent, then the impact on you will be very indirect and passive, which means the benefit that you will get will be very partial. Additionally, it would be something that would be coming to you perforce, by chance. You would not be a willing and loving recipient. It’s almost that you are being environmentally forced to take note of something that you really wanted to just not bother about at all.
That’s how the indifferent one gets impacted by the presence of the Guru.
Something more important needs to be discussed. This hierarchy that you have mentioned here, places the hostile one at the bottom of the heap. It says, “At the highest level are the active disciples, who actually spend life and time with the Guru. Then just below them are the devotees, who are devoted to the Guru but do not actively spend time with him. And then come the indifferent ones, and then come the hostile ones.
The pecking order has to be slightly different towards the bottom.
The worst instances of minds are not the hostile ones, but the indifferent ones. The hostile ones will receive far greater benefits than the indifferent ones. In fact, if there is one thing that any Guru wants to fight with all his might, it is indifference, not hostility.
If the Teacher has to choose between public hostility and public indifference, he will happily choose hostility, not indifference.
Indifference is the worst attitude you can have towards the Teacher.
Hostility is not so bad, because when you are hostile to the Teacher, the Teacher is occupying your mind. You are thinking of ways to avoid him. You are in fact thinking of ways to harm him. It doesn’t matter whether you are thinking of him in a reverential way, or a destructive way. The thing is that you are thinking of him.
And given the way we are, we may not think so regularly and so deeply of our friends, but when we consider somebody our enemy, then we think all day and all night about him. So the Guru has really succeeded in his own hidden way, if he has managed to make you take himself as an enemy.
When is it that the Guru may feel worried about you? When you are not even hostile, when you are not even angry, when you are not even inimical. That’s when the Guru says, “The situation is not right. Something needs to be done.”
Hostility is alright. Hostility is some kind of distorted love, appended love – love having taken a wrong turn.
That is why you will find that so many Teachers have had so many detractors and enemies. It was important. Because there was no other way the Teacher could have entered their consciousness. They were not the kinds who could have loved the Teacher.
It is best if you can love and become a disciple. But they were the ones who were not fit to be disciples. They might not have been fit to be disciples, they might not have been able to love the Teacher, but the love from Teacher’s side, if he’s really a Teacher, is pretty much unconditional.
He says, “You might not be able to love me, but I would still exercise my love, but in a different way. Could you love me, I would have enjoyed seeing you as a disciple close to me. Now that you are proving that you cannot love me, then I am glad that you hate me so much. Keep hating me. In hating me, you are at least thinking of me. It doesn’t matter how you think of me. If you think of me, it will somehow prove beneficial to you. Hate me.”
What the Teacher cannot stand is indifference.
And that is why, I said, so many of the greatest Teachers were compelled to actively have enmity raised against them. It was not really a preferred method, it was a compulsion of the times.
The people were such that they could not love, so the Teacher said, “Alright, if you cannot love, at least hate. Let me do a few things that would make you hate me. I will actively do a few things that will compel you to hate me.”
“And it is not difficult to make you hate me. Anything that is real, would offend you. So all I have to do is be real. The moment I am real, I will invite your wrath. Fine, hate me. At least there would be something of consequence in your life. Otherwise, your life is all full of trivia, and nonsense, and all trite affairs. Hating me, at least you will be able to say that you have some association with somebody worthwhile, even if that association is of hatred.”
How does a Guru’s presence help everyone?
It should be obvious how the Guru’s presence helps the disciple and the devotee. About the other two categories, we have talked in detail.
Watch the session video: The Guru is helping you even when you are hostile to him||Acharya Prashant,on Raman Maharishi(2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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