Expectations of Disciples and Reluctance to be a Guru – 16 Jan 11


Even for the next several days, the Ashram was full of people. Many of them stayed to have some private time with me, to talk to me one on one or in a smaller group. There were old friends with whom I reconnected but many more people, disciples and acquaintances, too. I recognized most of them but some of them, whom I had not known well, I had just deleted from my memory.

These first days after leaving the cave were not really easy and there were many things I needed to adjust to. In the cave it had been dark, so whenever I went out, sunlight was blinding me so that I started wearing sunglasses. For more than three years I had not worn any clothes and I did not like the feeling of something covering my body anymore. I enjoyed little breaks of darkness and nakedness in my cave, whenever I needed it.

I also changed my diet. For 12 years before the retreat in the cave, I had only been eating vegetables and fruit, no grains at all. This is a traditional Indian diet and everybody who eats like this is called ‘Falahari’. In the time of the cave I continued this diet but then even stopped eating fruit and vegetables. For the last year, I only drank milk, buttermilk and water. Now however I started eating full meals again.

Many people wanted to talk but because of the habit of being alone, I sometimes forgot to talk and just did not answer. These all were my changes on the outside. Inside, too, a lot of changes had happened and I needed time to discover exactly how to deal with them.

For everybody around, I was still their guru. More than that, after this retreat I was another step higher than before, an icon, like a God. In me however, a process had taken place that had led me away from this path. I felt all those expectations and seriously started thinking about my role. I wondered whether I would be able to fulfill their expectations. Did I want to fulfill them at all? Would I get back to the same thing that I was doing before? Had nothing changed, except that I would do it now in a bigger level, with a few thousand people more?

I knew somewhere inside that this was not anymore what I wanted. It was not yet fully clear to me what exactly kept me from going on the way I had lived before. So I listened to people, talked and answered and in a way wondered what I should do. I received a lot of invitations to go and preach in different parts of the country but had no wish to go anywhere. I had nothing else to do either. Being a guru was also my profession and I had not learned anything else. I realized already that this was now far from my idea of how I want to live but I had no alternative yet.

I may have started walking away from the idea that I was a guru, I was however still a very religious person. I did daily fire ceremonies in the morning, before touching any water or food. I strictly lived according to the rules of Hinduism and did all rituals, prayers and worship. This is who I was but additionally I was a guru. And this role did not really seem to fit anymore now.

12 Replies to “Expectations of Disciples and Reluctance to be a Guru – 16 Jan 11”

  1. I went through a process of something similar, but distantly. I was a actually a missionary pastor in West New Britain and just realized quite suddenly that I couldn’t do it anymore. I stopped and moved back home, but was still very religious. It wasn’t long til I began questioning religion too. I thought “This can’t be the way to God, in fact, I think this gets in the way of God.” Things just kept going like this until I had nothing left in my mind that I believed from my old life. The process took several years and I felt like an empty box at the end of it. Empty but… at peace.

  2. You must have been in shock just suddenly coming back into the world like that, and coming back suddenly into a role where so many people expected so much from you. I would have needed serious therapy!

  3. Wow, higher than guru. I am so curious about your self-perception at that time. Did you feel like you were surrounded by very needy and ignorant people?

  4. The more alert we are to the ego in ourselves the less amazing and more delightful we find the things that we do. I have met people that do something others perceive as phenomenal in a moment of consciousness and when people remark about its brilliance, bravery, or whatever it may be the person says “What? I have not done anything amazing.” There was no ego in it. It was a natural movement. When someone truly experiences this (and some think they have and have not) it must be a difficult thing to get across to others that would gladly be fans so that they may use this person to build their own ego.

  5. What is this photo from? And also, what was it like to see the new state of the property after you got out. Maybe it didn’t matter at all. I’m curious.

  6. What you choose to tell in your story or in other words the details of your experience that you are focusing on or that caught your attention are important. They make the experience of reading this a meditative process for me. Thank you.

  7. When you say you were still very religious do you mean intellectually? Was there something different about the way you interpreted these rituals internally?

  8. It must have been difficult to cope with the changes that were taking place within your heart and to be overwhelmed by people after being alone for three years must have been quite the ordeal to overcome. How did you slowly get used to being back in the world again, what routine did you have to let yourself become social again?