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When the Guru is wrong

About the true basis of a Guru-disciple relationship.

You are sure: what the guru or the master is saying right now is wrong. What now? Do you have to leave him? And how to recognize a false Guru? About the compass you can trust on this path.

Complete text for reading along:

Good morning.

This morning, I want to talk about a very interesting subject. It's a subject which literally divides people, which literally separates people, and this is: how to deal with the situation when your master, your guru, when the human being whom you follow, when this person says something which you know is wrong. But what do you do then? How do you handle this situation?

And it's a delicate situation, because here you are, you are the follower or the disciple of a person who teaches you the essentials of life, who brings things to you you don't know anything about, where you need to trust, and where you need to be open to things you cannot judge, where you cannot know whether they are right or wrong. So, there's a certain degree of surrender and openness necessary to as be in such a relationship as a disciple, a relationship to a master or to a guru.

And yet, and this is my experience, my personal experience, there comes the point, inevitably, where you hear your master or your guru say something where you know: this is wrong. It's not only not true, it's just wrong, it's maybe even unethical. You think: this is impossible. And then, there are people who find themselves in such a situation, and they think: he or she says something like this, if this is his or her opinion about this matter, which I deemed so important, I cannot be a disciple anymore. I cannot follow this person. I have to leave.

And the whole thing becomes even more delicate because you know as a disciple of a master or guru, that... the master or the guru touches something in you which will make you rebel. Basically, it's that the master and the guru... they help you to get out of your ego and to discover your true identity, and it's part of the whole process and a natural part of the whole process that this ego part of you starts rebelling very very much. And the ego part says all kinds of things: "oh this is stupid, this is not right, don't believe this! Stay true to yourself! Go your own way!" It's natural to hear things like this in your thoughts.

So, it's almost impossible for you to distinguish and to know: well, is this a point where it's just my ego coming up and throwing a tantrum, trying to deceive myself into the wrong direction, or is this a point where my guru is really wrong and I have to protect myself and I have to take care of myself?

And I talk about the subject this morning because recently, I heard quite a few people report to me how they were in such a situation and then they left their guru. They heard their guru say something about a very controversial thing in life, a subject which really divided people into two parts. The one half of the people believed: we have to do this and this is very important; and the other half said: no, we can't do this, and if you do this, this is really terrible. And for many people, this was such a strong subject that even friendships, even families broke apart, and also guru-disciple relationships broke apart because of this. So, that's why I want to talk about this: how to deal with this? And I want to start by sharing how I deal with this.

Actually, everything I say in my videos is only about how I do things. I want to use this opportunity again, and I will do this over and over again: I'm not a guru. I'm not a master. I'm a disciple, and I really feel well in this role as a disciple. And that's what I am, and that's what I stay being: I'm a disciple. And I share my experiences, because I noticed over the years, how many people have, from time to time, great difficulties with their master or with their guru, and over time, for many people, it becomes impossible to follow their path. And then I noticed how easy it is for me, and how fruitful it is for me, and how good it is for me and for my life. So, that's when I started sharing my own experiences, in the hopes that maybe, for some people, there's one or two things in what I say which might help them on their own way. Maybe it helps you with your struggle and with your trouble to hear how I experience things, how I perceive things, how I see them.

I do not claim that what I speak is the ultimate truth, although maybe sometimes it sounds like this. When I speak, I speak very strongly, very clearly, and I do so because for me, things are very clear; for me, things are very simple; and that's why I talk about them in this manner. But the only thing I really want to do is clear the path for you, so you can be without hindrance, without obstacles, with your own master, with your own guru. I want to encourage you to go directly to the source; and if you cannot do this because you have trouble there, because it feels impossible for you, because you can't trust, because... whatever the reason is... maybe, maybe listening to me will help you. But if it is possible for you to go straight to your guru, then I can only encourage you to do this. Go directly to the source. I'm just a disciple of my own guru. I'm just a disciple of my own master, and that's what I share.

And maybe you wonder: why does this guy have two people in his life? Why do I speak about master and guru at the same time? And I just say this... I speak about this because... I don't know how it happened, but I have a master, a spiritual master, and I have a guru. 23 years ago, I met Soham. At that time, his name was Samarpan. From the first day when I met him, he was my spiritual master. And about six years ago, Swamiji, my Indian guru, came into my life, and for me, there's no conflict.

And for me it's like this: my master taught me to discover myself. I was like most people are: lost in the world, lost in trying to be as other people wanted me to be. I tried to be the way I thought I should be. But in reality, I had no clue how I actually am. I didn't know myself at all. And through Soham, I discovered myself. I discovered "inside". I discovered my own fundament, and it changed my life completely. I didn't think that there's anything missing. I never looked for something else, you know, apart from my master. I didn't think that there's something else to discover. I could have said: "there's nothing else to discover, I discovered everything." And I never thought about finding a guru, I never searched for guru, I never searched for anything anymore. I was happy, I was feeling complete.

But then, one day, from one moment to the next, there was this guru in my life, and I knew: wow, this is it. And the difference for me is: as I said, Soham... Soham, for me, is a master, a human being who taught me by example, by the example he is, how to discover myself. An amazing gift. He's like me. And I could learn this from him. I could discover this through his grace.

Swamiji... I call Swamiji my guru. And a guru is somebody who is God. I mean, no person can be God. No human being can be God, this is clear. God is that which is everything. God is that which we truly are, in us, which connects everything, because nothing is separate. So, this is all nice words, and they don't mean anything to you, and to me neither, that's why I never use these spiritual words. But a guru is a human being, a person, through whom we experience God directly. And for the person who experiences this with a guru, the guru becomes God. It's like: through Swamiji, through my guru, I feel this direct connection to God in me. I feel this thanks to my guru. And that's why my guru looks for me like God.

He is not God, I know this. It's not that I have this blind belief: "he is God, and if I believe this strong enough, then something good will happen in my life." That doesn't work. But you're experience something through a guru which can only just be described as a direct connection, an immediate connection to God.

That's why Jesus said: "I am the way." He described the role of a guru. "I am the way." Through me, you can experience God directly. God is everywhere, but this doesn't help us human beings, because it's So, not concrete enough. It's not tangible enough. As humans, we are human, emotional beings, and we need something to connect with, and this is the guru. Through the guru, there is God, suddenly, in us. And this is amazing, and that's the difference for me. This... I never experienced this with Soham. That's why there's this guru in my life. The guru came into my life because Soham.... Soham discovered him first, or... Soham was contacted by this guru, and through this, I got in touch with this guru. And so, we have the same guru, so there's no conflict. It's very lucky for me. So, I'm so lucky, I have a master and a guru in one life.

So, I was speaking about this... about this difficult situation that there is this person you follow, as a disciple, and he's God for you. And then he says something where you know with every cell of your body, with everything you know, you say: this is not true; what he says is wrong. How is this possible, and what are you doing now? And this thing has a few aspects I would like to touch on briefly. I was... I said I want to share my own experiences how I deal and dealt with these things, and I want to share an experience which I had very early on in my time with Soham.

I was... I think it was like... I was with him two or three years already, and I was in a lovely relationship at that time, and I was just sharing with Soham about my relationship and how I experience it, how I behave there... I didn't even have a problem. I didn't ask him for advice, but I just shared with him how it is for me. It was also about a very delicate subject for me, about sexuality, and at that time, I was very proud of how I was able to do this. I was very sensitive. I was able to feel what the woman needs. I was very careful not to do something she doesn't like. I was very attentive to not do anything which might not be good for her. And for me, this was a very very sensitive subject, and then he said something.

He said: "Mikael, what you are doing there is really not good. Don't do this." And he said: "Mikael, don't pay attention to the woman, only pay attention to yourself." And I thought: this is wrong. I thought: this is wrong. I grew up in a family where men did not behave well, where men did exactly that. I grew up in a family where men only looked after themselves and took what they wanted, and it was very ugly. So, I learned a better way, and I was convinced about this way, and I knew: my way is better. And I thought: he has no idea what he's talking about. I thought: he just doesn't know. And I was convinced: in this respect, I know better.

But I was very very lucky, because Soham had said over and over again to many people, again and again, he said: if I ever say something which you don't feel resonance with, forget it! Ignore it! If I say something that you don't have resonance with, it's not for you. And I had heard him say this so many times, that it was easy for me to actually ignore what he said, and that's what I did: I just ignored it. And what also made it easy for me is that I'm a terribly stubborn person. I'm really very stubborn, and all my life, I only did what I felt is right for me.

And it's not because I'm wise, I was never wise. I was and I am really stupid. I have no clue how to do it right. But it was like: I had this disability; I had the disability to...I just was not able to be not stubborn, that's how it feels to me. I heard something which sounds like a great idea, like very good advice, where I maybe even thought: this is good, this is true, I should do this. But if I felt something else in me, if I wanted to do something else, I couldn't help it: I had to do this. Even if it was totally wrong and not good for me, but I had to do it.

So, these two things helped me in this difficult situation where my master said something which I was totally convinced: he's wrong; and I ignored it. And I ignored what he said, and I stayed true to what I felt. And because I stayed true to myself, because I... because I stayed close to myself, I could stay with my master.

Would I have followed his advice, if I would have gone against my own conviction, if I would have thought: I can't feel this, I think he's wrong, but he's my master, so I should do this... if I would have done that, I would have betrayed myself. And I'm sure: through this, I would have lost my master, because we cannot be close to somebody else if we are not close to ourselves.

That's why so many relationships fail. People always wonder: why can't we be... why can't we discover real intimacy with each other? You can't, because you're not intimate with yourself. So, this is the basis, and because I stayed true to myself, not out of wisdom, but out of pure stubbornness, childish stubbornness... but it doesn't matter. I stayed true to myself, and that's why it was no problem! I could still be totally close with my master. I just ignored this one area. In that one area, I just did what I thought is right, and in all other respects I knew: he is right, and I followed him and I learned from him.

And the interesting point is that ten years later... ten years later... I discovered that he was right. But it took me ten years, ten years to develop, ten years to experience, ten years to do my own research in life, ten years to become a little bit more mature... and then I discovered, not by following him, but by my own experience: ah, that is what he was talking about! Oh my God, he was right! But I would not have come to that point where I discovered it by myself, if I would have followed him blindly. If I would have gone against myself, I would not have discovered this. So, this is my way. I just stay true to myself. If my master or my guru says something I don't feel resonance with, I don't feel energy for, I don't do it. I just don't do it.

And sometimes, it's the opposite. Sometimes I feel resistance. My guru says something and it's like: oh, I don't know... but I feel energy for it, I feel: yes, I can sense that he is right, I know this is true what he says, but it challenges me. It challenges me. Sometimes it challenges me to the core, and to try to do what he suggests is difficult, but underneath is my own knowing: yes, I know this is true, I know this is the right way. It's difficult for me, but I try. But this is something totally different than blind faith. This is something totally different than going against myself.

But most people don't do it like this. Most people think... I don't know where this comes from. We have this almost built in attitude that we should blindly follow a guru or a master. Maybe we learned this in church, I don't know where we learned this, but I see this in almost everybody. And then, what I see with almost everybody is: they lose their master, they lose their guru, I have seen this so many times. And that's why I make this video.

And Swamiji, my guru, he says the same thing Soham said. He says: blind faith is not good. Blind faith leads to nothing good. And what he suggests is... he says: the only... your only compass should be your own inner experience. In India, the word Swamiji uses is the word "Anuboothi". It means "inner spiritual experience". It means translated: only when you feel it inside, when it's your own truth, when you feel it in you: "yes!", then you do it. If you do it out of blind faith, it will lead to nothing good. So, what the guru says and what the master says is not important at all. What's important is the effects it has in you. So don't listen to the words, don't listen to what they say or suggest.

But sometimes, when you hear your guru say something, you feel something in you. You feel: "ah, this is for me. Ah, I feel energy with this, I feel resonance, there is something for me." This is your guide; not the words. There will be many many many words you hear where you don't feel any resonance with. There will be many many words where you feel opposition against, so just ignore all this, it's not for you. But sometimes you hear something, and you feel: "ah, this is for me!" That you follow. And this is the only thing I can follow, nothing else.

By the way, this is how I came to Soham. I want to share this briefly. 23 years ago, I had no clue what a master is, I had no clue what Satsang is. Soham was giving Satsang at that time in all kinds of cities. He was traveling around. And I didn't know what it is, and I wasn't searching for it, I was accidentally in that town where Soham was, and I had heard that there is this guy, I had heard his name before, so the name was familiar, but I Satsang didn't think much about it, I just had read about him before and said: "ah, interesting, he's in town, yeah, maybe I go and check this out." So, I went there and that I was in my first Satsang of my life, in a room full of strange people. I didn't... I didn't know what I was doing there. I didn't know what to expect.

I didn't even know why I am there. It wasn't that I was searching for something specifically. I just wanted to check it out. I was just curious. It wasn't that I thought: "ah, he can give me something." It wasn't that I thought: "ah, he knows more than I know." I don't know why I was there. Usually I say: I was there by accident.

So, I was sitting in this room, and then, Soham entered the room. He walked through the room, sitting down in his chair. And then I had an inner experience. Suddenly, I was full of a feeling which just felt like: ah... oh, this feels good, here I'm at the right place, here I want to stay forever! That's how it felt. I didn't hear words. I just use these words to... I try to convey my feeling which I had at that time to you. But this is how it felt to me: oh... I was completely inside and I felt so right, so well: yes, here I want to stay! And I didn't even know what this means, this "here". It felt like: here, in me, in this feeling, in this space I want to stay forever. I didn't connect this to Soham. I didn't connect this to Satsang, it just was this feeling I had this in this moment.

And that was my guide. I had this feeling, I felt this total openness, out of the blue, in me, and then one thing came to another, and the next day basically I was part of Soham's crew. I started traveling around with him and I started serving him and being there for him. But the basis was this experience. It wasn't that this experience told me: Mikael, now you stay with Soham no matter what. No, I had this experience, and this just opened me, and then I was curious and open. I still didn't search for anything. I still didn't think that Soham is an immensely wise person and I should be with him to learn the secrets of life. I was just opened and started taking care of his technical stuff. For me, it was a totally unspiritual, unesoteric matter. But of course, I did learn from him everything I needed to know about life, but I didn't know this at that time. But my guide, that which made it possible for me to be open for this, was my own inner experience, that nobody told me. It was like my soul told me: "hey, here I feel well, here I want to stay."

And this is exactly the same how I came to Swamiji. Swamiji came into my life about six years ago. I didn't search for a guru. I was happy with my master. I thought I had discovered everything there is to discover in life. I never thought about gurus, they were foreign and strange to me, and not even that: they were... they just didn't exist in my life. And as I said, I didn't search for anything, I was happy. But then, one day, there was a one-week Satsang break between the Satsang the last city and the Satsang at the next place, and after this one-week break, in the evening before the next Satsang, I met Soham. We had dinner together, and he started sharing with me what happened with him in this one week; that he got contacted by this Indian guru, by Swamiji. And then, he just shared with me what had happened and how he felt about this. And it was not that he said: "Mikael, I discovered something, you need to try this too, this is the right way, you should have him as your guru..." Of course, nothing like this. Soham would never say anything like this. He just shared about how he got contacted and how that was for him and how he felt.

And while I was listening to Soham, to what he was telling me, I had this amazing inner experience. I listened to Soham, I had to close my eyes, I started crying, and I was... my entire feeling was that of: "oh my God, for this I was waiting all of my life, for this moment, for this moment I was waiting so many lifetimes!" I didn't even know what that was I was waiting for. It was just a feeling. I'm describing an emotion. And I didn't know anything about other lives. I was never an esoteric person; I never researched my past lives or anything like this. I'm a very simple guy, down to earth, for me only the things matter which I can experience directly. And I didn't know anything about my past lives. I didn't even know that there are things like that.

But this was my feeling. This which is coming to me right now, this what I can feel right now, I was waiting for this lives over lives over lives. And this was my inner experience, this was in me, this was real for me, nothing anybody told me. And from that moment on, Swamiji was and is in me. I never had to make any decision. When you have your own experience, then things are clear.

So, for me, this was always my compass; not what I was being told. And that was... that is what Swamiji is talking about. He says: "don't have blind faith; what you trust is not what you're being told, what you trust is your own inner experience." And any true master, any true guru will always tell you exactly this. I never have heard Soham say: "you must do this or that". And I never heard Swamiji say anything like this. So, when you're hear your guru say something and you cannot follow it, don't follow. It is that simple.

But the trouble people get into is that they believe: everything the guru says is true, so, if he says something which is not true for me, he can't be a guru. That's the logic, that's where the trouble starts. Just a few years ago, there was this amazing situation in the world which really divided people, and if... and people felt very strongly about it, no matter which way they felt. Some people felt this way and some people felt that way. But no matter how they felt, for them it was really strong, and the feeling was: if my friend doesn't feel the same way, he can't be my friend. That's how serious people took this matter, and that's what happened with Swamiji too. Swamiji said something about this, and people said: well, he's not of my opinion, he can't be my guru.

And there are two things to know about this. The one is: a master, a guru, only brings one thing into your life. There's only one important thing. Only one. I shouldn't use two fingers because then there are two, but for me this is so important that I show "one" with both of my hands. Swamiji... I heard Swamiji say... he said: I only bring one thing into this world to you: the Samarpan Meditation, anything else is secondary. I only bring one thing; all the rest comes from somewhere else. All the rest other people add, all the rest comes from tradition or what not. He said: I only bring one thing: the Samarpan Meditation. I teach you how to pray. I teach you how to meet God directly in you. Anything else does not come from me. And with a master, with Soham, it's the same thing. He brings one thing into your life, one thing. He makes it possible for you to meet yourself.

Now for you... For the guru, this is the only important thing, for the master this is the only important thing. The guru knows: anything in life is completely unimportant but this one thing. Jesus said it in his own words. Jesus said: "put God first, anything else will follow." He said: you don't have to pay attention to all the things you think are important; you put your attention to God. You look into the direction of God, and all the things you think are so important... they will all take care of themselves.

The guru knows this, the master knows this, but you don't. You believe that all this stuff is totally important. It's not, but you believe it, and because you take all these things so important, it even gets between you and the guru, between you and the master. It gets between you and the only thing which is important, which is, that you learn to put your attention to God, to be close to God, to discover God in you. And that's why it's not only important that you ignore all that stuff you can't believe, it's also safe to ignore this, because it's all unimportant. If the guru says: "okay, just do it this way! Don't think too much about it, do it this way!" It doesn't matter whether you agree with him or not, what he is saying is: don't worry about it, just do this.

He basically says: okay, if you want my advice, do this, so it's over with. Don't take it seriously, don't take it so important. Listen to me! The guru says: listen to me! I talk about the one thing which is important; that is God. And if you put God first... I love Jesus's way of expressing this... and all the things you think are important will all dissolve. You will discover, you yourself, you will discover: oh my God, all the stuff I was worrying all of my life, all of the things I took so serious and so important, they are nothing, they're unimportant! I thought it's a matter of life and death, and in reality, it's unimportant.

So, if your guru says something and you can't follow, just don't. It's not important. What is important is that you listen to the one thing he came into your life for, that's the only important thing. And even that is not important, because Swamiji also says: hey, if I'm not the guru for you, don't worry. Every person has his or her own path, your path will open for you. No guru ever says: "you have to". But if you are open, if you feel openness to this diamond he brings, oh, this this is good news! Then you follow, and you follow this, then you are true to yourself; then you follow your own feeling, your own soul.

There's a beautiful story from Jesus. You know, the trouble people have with masters is always the same throughout the ages. There's nothing new and with Jesus it was the same thing. Jesus was living in a time where Judea was occupied by the Romans, and it was not a nice situation. The Jews were oppressed, and there was resistance in the country, there were people trying to fight the Romans, trying to overthrow them. And I imagine that it was just like our issues we have these days. There are certain things which people feel are so important that it divides people. Maybe they were families where the father thought: we have to fight the Romans; and the mother said: no, we can't; and then they can't live with each other anymore, because they take it so seriously. And this was the situation in Judea at the time of Jesus.

And then, there was this one situation where Jesus was asked a question. The question was a poisoned question. He was asked by one of the pharisees, I don't know the seriously correct English word for this... by one of the Jewish hot shots, by the Jewish priests, by one of the men in power... he was asked the question and it was a poisoned question. The question was designed to bring Jesus into trouble. It was designed so Jesus would make a statement about something, to force him to make a statement about a critical issue, so then he would get punished for it or put into prison or crucified.

He was asked: "should we pay our taxes?" A Jew asking Jesus: should we give our money to the Romans, to these oppressors? He didn't ask: should we fight against the Romans, but this was hidden in the question. Shouldn't we resist? Shouldn't we resist the ones who are in power here in this country? Shouldn't we fight? Shouldn't we refuse to pay our taxes? That was the essence of this poisoned question. And Jesus did it beautifully. He took a coin and he said: Look! What do you see on the face of this coin? It's the image of the emperor, of the Roman Emperor. This money is from the Roman Emperor, it belongs to the Roman Emperor. And Jesus said: "give the emperor, what is the emperor's... what belongs to the emperor." Give the emperor, what belongs to the emperor.

And then he said: "and give God what belongs to God." Now this is good advice. It cuts through the whole thing. It says: don't worry about these worldly matters! The emperor wants taxes from you? Then pay taxes! But you, don't waste... don't you waste your energy, don't you waste your precious attention and your precious time on this question. You give to God what belongs to God. You belong to God! Your attention, your consciousness, your soul belongs to God. You look into the direction of God, that's what you should do!

That's what Jesus said with his answer. He said: why do you waste your time and energy on such questions? Instead, give yourself to God and everything else will follow! And this is my experience in my life. All these questions become unimportant. We don't understand how this is possible.

For us, such a question like... you know, Jesus's own disciple Judas, he was an intellectual, he was one of these people who wanted to fight the Romans. And he tried to be clever and find ways, and he wanted to convince Jesus that Jesus should use his powers for this battle. And he was totally convinced that this is what Jesus will do and that what he wanted and what he should do. He was so convinced not only that this matter is so important, but also that his opinion about this matter is the right one.

But Jesus... Jesus didn't spend one second worrying about this entire issue. He didn't think or speak about this at all. All he said was: well, then pay your taxes and then please come back to the one thing which really is important! Let's talk about God. But Judas couldn't hear it. He could not understand what Jesus was talking about, because this matter was so important for him.

It's not that Jesus said: you should pay your taxes, and if you think... if you believe you seriously shouldn't pay taxes, you do it wrong, and you should pay your taxes, it's important, otherwise you can't come to God, otherwise you can't be my disciple... No, he didn't say any of this nonsense. Jesus said: don't waste your time with questions like this. If you need an answer, here, I give you an answer: pay your taxes! Don't waste your life with fights about things which are entirely, totally unimportant. If you miss God, all the rest is totally unimportant. If you find God, all the rest will be solved all by itself.

And that's what a guru who tells you too. A guru brings you the one thing: the path to God. Now, you can start discussing and arguing with your guru about all the things you think important, or you can stop and become quiet and you can recognize the one thing your guru brings to you. And then, if you are open for this, take this, and forget all the rest.

Swamiji sometimes tells people: you should not ask... you should not come to your guru with all of your problems. You know, they come to him and they tell them about their relationship problems and money problems and work problems and all their worldly troubles, and he says: this is not how you should use a guru. Of course, the guru can solve all these problems. You know, when you come close to your guru, when you go to your guru in trust with love for you guru, then something will happen, your problems will be solved. But you will miss the one point which is important, and that is what he is bringing to you: God. And when you accept this one gift, all of your problems will be solved automatically. That's why Swamiji says: don't bring your problems to the guru. Because if you do this, you will not be able to see the one thing he brings. You will just not be able to see, because for you, other things are so important, that you are totally blind.

And I experienced this myself. I mentioned to you, just a few years ago we had this situation in the world, also in this country, and I experienced all around me how important people take these worldly matters. And they totally forget God about it, over it.

I didn't... I just never paid attention to these things. I just had something more important in my life.

Thank you for listening.

Thank you so much.

I love you.