Does a Guru have to accept a disciple? In one of Swami Kriyananda’s books, it says if the Guru chooses to accept the disciple? Also, does a Guru know a disciple’s thoughts or only those that are attuned to him? If they are disciples for many lifetimes, do they know all their thoughts?
—SS, United States
Let’s start with these quotes from Paramhansa Yogananda (quoted from Essence of Self-Realization).
God sends the seeker indirect guidance at first, through books and lesser teachers. Only when the desire for Him is very strong does He send help in the form of a Self-realized guru. It is no favor to the guru if the student accepts him. Rather, the student must have prayed very hard, in this lifetime and in former lives, to have earned so great a blessing.
It isn’t that you need to go out looking for the guru. The Lord will send him to you, or else draw you to him, when you are spiritually ready.
The bond with the guru, once established, is not for one lifetime only. It is forever. Even after the disciple has attained spiritual freedom, he acknowledges the guru as the channel through which his liberation came.
For the guru is simply a channel for God’s power and wisdom. God is the true Guru.
The guru-disciple relationship is the most precious gift one can receive. When one offers his life in discipleship he commits to living every aspect of his life for God, even his thoughts. Yogananda said to Swami Kriyananda, who was a direct disciple of Yogananda and lived with him for the last three and a half years of Yogananda’s life, “I know every thought you think.”
Yogananda in his autobiography writes that his guru Swami Sri Yukteswar also exercised this ability in training disciples and could see into the thoughts of others — not only disciples — when it was necessary. This ability is not something most disciples would have received unless very advanced and unless it was necessary to have it. Yogananda used this ability to help guide the disciples to Self-realization, correcting subtle misunderstandings and tendencies that, if not addressed, would take the disciple off of the spiritual path.