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Stop being a servant to your masters || (2019)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
10 min
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Questioner: Does serving the Guru with compassion and devotion lead to liberation?

Acharya Prashant:

Liberation is not about serving the Guru. Liberation is about not serving what you serve so much.

You don’t have to be liberated with respect to the Guru. Liberation means getting rid of something, right? You say, "I am liberated 'from' something". What is it that holds you back? What is it that has arrested you? What is it that keeps you in chains? That which you serve.

It is not that stuff on its own, consciously, with volition, pounces upon you to arrest you and enslave you, does that happen? Stuff does not pounce upon you. Stuff does not weave circles around you. We serve stuff. We serve stuff and we plead with it asking it to become our master. Stuff is not eager to capture us and obviously, it cannot be eager to liberate us because stuff has no volition, no consciousness of its own. It is we who enjoin stuff. We entreaty stuff. We say, "Please, please, come to my life, fill me up and I’ll pay the price". We serve stuff by paying the price for stuff. So, what is it that we must seek liberation from? That which we serve.

So, now you tell me, what does it mean to serve the Guru?

Do not serve what you have been hitherto serving. Do not serve what you have been serving so far and that is liberation. The moment you stop serving that, it shrivels, it dies down, its hold over you is gone. Its hold over you was only as long as you kept feeding it, which is serving it. It arrests you only as long as you are supporting it. It's almost like arresting one arm of yours using the other arm.

So, serving the Guru is nothing magical, it only means blocking the supply of service to random, miscellaneous objects of the world. Serving the Guru is just a metaphor, just a way, it's a trope.

The Guru really does not require your service. If the Guru is really a Guru, what would he do with your service? Your service is in fact, an unnecessary load on him. Almost like the things people frequently come and offer here in the foundation, and I have a small room and all the stuff that people give, then comes to my room, and I do not know what to do with it. I still keep it because it was served in Love! But nevertheless, it is a hassle, is it not? So, the Guru does not need your service. In fact, once you offer your service, he somehow tries to accommodate it. But you need to serve the Guru so that you stop serving what you ordinarily do.

Look at all the issues and problems and complications in your life. Are they there without your support, your engagement? Are they?

How many people whose numbers are not there in your phone, trouble you a lot?

Please get the question - How many people whose numbers are not there in your phone, trouble you a lot?

Who are the ones, who are a trouble to you?

The ones you've been regularly corresponding. In other words, the ones you've been regularly serving, regularly feeding. You feed them your hours so that they can trouble you. Trouble does not come uninvited, and it does not even easily accept invitations. Trouble comes to us because we forcibly kidnap it and bring it to ourselves. Even trouble is troubled. Trouble is asking, "Why did you bring me to yourself? And now you are giving me a bad name by calling me a 'Trouble'. Did I decide to come to you? First of all, you sneaked into my house, put a tape on my mouth, handcuffed me, pushed me inside your car in the dead of night, and I became fed up with your captivity that I decided to fast till death, but you kept feeding me and feeding me. You don't want me to die and then you call me as a 'Trouble'?"

Do you see what it means to serve the Guru?

It means - divert your energies. Divert your attention. Do not let your time and energy and attention flow to the same places they usually do, turn them towards the Guru.

Why towards the Guru? Why not towards something else?

If you've been investing your service so far in 'A', why must you now invest your services in 'B'? Or why must you now invest your services in Guru? Why must not in 'B'?

You've been feeding 'A' till now and 'A' is now a trouble. So, why are the Gurus advising that you must serve the Lord or the devotee or the Guru? Why they don't simply say, "If 'A' has become a problem then now start serving 'B'"? Why not 'B'?

Because the moment you start serving 'B', 'B' becomes 'A'. The moment you start serving 'B', 'B' becomes 'A' and both of them feed on your service to grow upon you.

How is the Guru different then? The Guru is different because He is in no need of any service. The Guru is different because in a way he never really accepts your service. The Guru is almost like a deity in the temple, you go and offer it so much, does the deity really consume so much? You've offered but the deity has not taken anything. It's beautiful. You have given and yet it has not been taken.

Similar is the case with the Guru, you gave but He does not take. Oh, sometimes from your side you make a mistake of thinking just because you're giving so the Guru must be taking as well. No, you have been giving but he has not been taking, and therefore, things can be safe with him. Therefore, the Guru will never turn into an 'A'. The day the Guru becomes desirous of your service or offering, that is the day you must know that the Guru is no longer a Guru.

Worldly ones like 'A', like 'B' are all fundamentally incomplete at the core. They are anyway in need of completion. So, when you offer them something, they latch onto it, why do they latch onto it? Because they needed it. Give them something and you have invited trouble because now they know that you can give them something, so they will arrest you, clutch you. It's almost like giving a carnivore a taste of your blood. As long as he has not had the taste of your blood, he would probably keep away. But once he has tasted your blood, he will not leave you, because now you've displayed to him that you can offer him, serve him what he desires. Therefore, be it 'A' or 'B' or 'C', the moment you start offering them something, they become carnivorously attached to you. They say, "Now, I am getting from him what I anyway need, why should I let him free now?" So, do you see what happens then? You are feeding your blood to someone so that he remains attached to you and that's how all attachments proceed - You feed your blood to the attached one so that he remains attached to you. The moment you stop serving your blood to the other one, he will leave you.

If you have gone for trekking in tropical humid areas, you would have encountered the leech. Why does the leech stick to you? Because it loves you?

Why does the leech stick to you with such a great adhesiveness? Because you're serving your blood to it.

The moment you stop serving your blood, the leech has no more incentive to stick to you.

You are being advised that if you have surplus blood, don't offer it to the leech. Don't serve it to the leech. Go and bathe the deity with it. If you have surplus blood, don't feed it to the leech because leech will not just take your blood and say, "Thank you!" and walk away, the leech would stick to you. If at all you have so much that you want to offer it in service, then just go and offer it to the deity. The deity will have it but never become desirous of it. Never become attached to your offering, never want more of it. So, you're unburdened of the surplus that you have and yet you have not been burdened with a new attachment, that is what is meant by serving the Guru.

You unburden yourself by giving what you unnecessarily have, and yet, this giving and taking does not turn into another parasitic relationship. It’s beautiful and dangerous because we are not in the habit of giving without expecting. Expecting not merely stuff for ourselves, but also expecting that the other must be enjoying what we are giving, gifting, or serving. Because we operate strongly from a personal center, so, to us, everybody is almost the same as us. Since we feel sensually ingratiated when we are offered something, so we expect that if we offer something to the other, he too must feel equally obliged. But the Guru will not feel obliged irrespective of what you have offered to him, and that offends you. You say, "I offered so much, and yet, he is not valuing my service".

The day he starts valuing your service, you are gone. Because that which is valued is also desired. The day he starts valuing your service, he will start demanding more of your service, do you want that to happen? Do you want to become a perpetual servant to a desirous one?

First of all, a perpetual servant and that too to somebody who desires your service, do you want that to happen? Therefore, it is a great relief that the Guru remains internally indifferent to whatever you have to give to him and that saves the Guru. Because if he does not remain indifferent to your service, he will also not be able to remain indifferent to your abuses. Because he remains untouched by all the lovely things that you offer him, he also remains untouched when you stab him.

And if you find a Guru falling, because he had been stabbed in various ways by the world, you must immediately know that he would have been eager to be served by the world, by the tempting crowd of his followers.

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