THE TRANSMISSION OF YOGA: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GURU-SHISHYA
Yoga….many branches….many masters
It is quite common for our western mind the wish to hold more than we are able to and to jump from style to style, from one practice to another without neither commitment nor clinging to one with fidelity and surrender.
Every lineage has both its unique and general teachings, and usually there are few coincidences among them…that is why every time somebody asks me about practice or study following different “branches” or “masters”, I always tell them about “Parampara”.
Guru Shishya Parampara has its roots in India and it has thrived during thousands of years. When there was the need to transmit a powerful and subtle knowledge, it was always achieved in an atmosphere of trust and devotion between the Guru (master) and Shishya (disciple). The word “Parampara” can literally be defined as “uninterrupted tradition”- that is to say it denotes the lineage of the shared knowledge. To describe that tradition, Sadhguru says: “It is when someone discovers something and then transmits it. Then that person does the same with another one, and so the chain goes on for thousands of years”. This is the way it has been happening in India and thanks God this endless chain of teaching and learning continues.
Here in Western culture, people try to replace this way by teachings from books, videos, calendar quoting, etc. But a confused mind can misunderstand the message, interpreting it according to his convenience or just with the level that mind has achieved. That is why this unchanged tradition shows us that the sacred teachings can only be transmitted from person to person. We all have our inner Guru, because we are divine sparks from God (jivatman) and it is our fate to join God (Paramatman), but we all need Masters to teach us and guide us through the right path of self-discovery. This fact doesn’t turn Gurus into superior beings. They are simply people with more practice in Yoga and who have made some more mistakes than we have.
The Guru, the same as our parents, will sometimes tell us things we’ll like and some other times things we won’t, but there is when we have to face our “ego” and our “mind” to work on acceptance. Our Guru will never say “no” without a good reason or just because he’s mean. It may probably happen that we are not ready yet to understand the reasons for his decisions, and then only time will show us the greatness of his advice. The trust in our Guru is vital for our spiritual development and growth. This trust is the main point in the relationship and it will allow our mind- which is “know –all”- to stay in silence, quiet.
To follow our Guru’s footsteps will enable us to walk on a known and safe path. It will prevent us from falling in a pit or taking shortcuts. His own Guru had guided him through the same path following the same footsteps, as he’s doing with us now. As it sometimes happens with children who come off their parents hands while walking, we will find ourselves in a rebellious attitude towards our Guru’s words, just to discover later that once again he was right. And we will walk together again to keep on learning.
Could our Guru be mistaken? Of course he could. He’s a human being, but surely his mistakes will be more subtle than ours. And it is our mind that’s responsible for making us believe that our Guru is perfect. It would be like thinking our parents are perfect. They are not, surely they have made mistakes and have learnt from them.
There is not a Guru who will ask you to trust him blindly. On the contrary, he will want you to surrender to the teaching with respect and honesty, to practice and find the proof in your own experience.
I want to sincerely thank my Yoga Masters Dr.Omanand ( Guruji) and Liliana Fontana because they have always been and will be my headlights of understanding. With deep faithfulness and because I know I will always be their shishya.
Three Om for them. Om- Shanti… Shanti… Shanti!
Deepakananda (Sebastian Cuenca)
Yoga and Yoga Therapy Teacher
Regional Director for Argentina of Paramananda Ashram
Centro Ki-do Director – www.centrokido.com
Rosario – Argentina